Shared Legacies: The African American-Jewish Civil Rights Alliance
Dir. Shari Rogers | 95 min
The crucial historical lessons of Black-Jewish cooperation are revisited and revived in this utterly fascinating, urgent call to action. The modern alliance between African Americans and Jewish Americans dates to the NAACP founding in 1909.
Since then, both groups have endured segregation and racism, from the codified bigotry of southern Jim Crow laws to blatant bias in real estate, employment, higher education and politics. Common cause was found in the turbulent ‘60s Civil Rights era, as Jewish leaders backed Dr. King’s efforts at racial equality and harmony.
Yet, the relationship has frayed in recent years, as a once mighty bond of support and respect has seemingly faded, been forgotten, or been ignored. Pivotal events come alive through a treasure trove of archival materials narrated by eyewitnesses, activists, Holocaust survivors, and leaders of the movement. With divisive seeds of hate taking root again in the American landscape, a new generation also affirms their pledge to actively promote the values of social justice.
Rental includes a moderated conversation about Shared Legacies on Wednesday, December 9, 7:00 PM, featuring Rabbi David Saperstein, Dr. LaNitra Berger, and Dr. Marc Dollinger.
Presented in partnership with the Capital Jewish Museum.
Dr. LaNitra M. Berger is an award-winning scholar, educator, and social justice advocate working towards making higher education accessible to low-income, first-generation, and minority students. Her scholarly interests are in art and social activism in the African and Jewish diasporas. For over 15 years, her work as an educator focuses on creating and expanding education abroad opportunities for underrepresented students, particularly in international education. As a social justice advocate, she supports student activism by teaching, advising, speaking, and supporting students. LaNitra is the author of Exploring Education Abroad: A Guide for Racial and Ethnic Minority Participants (NAFSA, 2016) and the monograph, Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art: Audacities of Color (Bloomsbury, November 2020). She is also the editor of Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, and Perspectives (NAFSA, 2020).
Dr. Marc Dollinger holds the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University. He has served as research fellow at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Religion as well as the Andrew W. Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the Humanities at Bryn Mawr College, where he coordinated the program in Jewish Studies. Professor Dollinger is author of four scholarly books in American Jewish history, most recently Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing The Alliance in the 1960s.
Designated by Newsweek Magazine as the most influential rabbi in America and by the Washington Post as the “quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill,” for 40 years as Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Rabbi David Saperstein represented to Congress and the Administration, the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry. Under Rabbi Saperstein, writes J.J. Goldberg in his book Jewish Power, the Religious Action Center “has become one of the most powerful Jewish bodies in Washington, second only to AIPAC.” From 2015-2017, Rabbi Saperstein served as the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, carrying out his responsibilities as the country’s chief diplomat on religious freedom issues.
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