Was there ever really a black-Jewish alliance in twentieth-century America? And if there was, what happened to it? In Troubling the Waters, Cheryl Greenberg answers these questions, drawing the richest portrait yet of what was less an alliance than a tumultuous political engagement.
Using extensive new research from the archives of organizations such as the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, Greenberg shows that a special black-Jewish political relationship did indeed exist, especially form the 1940s to the mid-1960s, and that this engagement energized the civil rights revolution, shaped the agenda of liberalism, and affected the course of American politics as a whole. But even during this heyday, she demonstrates, cooperation and conflict coexisted.
Tracing the growth, peak, and deterioration of black-Jewish engagement over the course of the twentieth century, Greenberg shows that the history of this relationship is very much the history of American liberalism-neither as golden in its best years nor as golden in its best years nor as absolute in its collapse as commonly thought.