Jews And Blacks: A Snap Shot ... Working Together To Make a Difference

May 5, 2010
Written by Jane Mersky Leder in
Stereotypes & Labels
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1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded. Interestingly, W.E.B. Dubois was the only prominent black of the founding board of directors. Most of the other board members were Jewish. The NAACP’s first president was Arthur Spingam, and only Jews served as board presidents until the 1970s. The Jewish leadership was little known by the public at large.

1910 – Jews, blacks, and a few white Christians started The Urban League

1912 – A coalition led by Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald (Sears, Roebuck) founded over 5,000 schools and colleges for black in the south

1914 – Jewish International Ladies Garment Workers Union and Amalgamated Clothing Workers (ACW) organized blacks for membership

1940s – Darryl Zanuck, influential Jewish Hollywood mogul, and Walter White, head of the NAACP, met to discuss the portrayal of blacks in the movies

1945 – At the end of World War II, black battalion liberated Gunskirchen, a German concentration camp

1945 – African -American Congressman Adam Clayton Powell spoke out against anti-Semitism before a House of Representatives’ subcommittee

1949 – Jewish boys leafleted outside of Ebbits Field demanding the integration of baseball

1960s – The Civil Rights Movement: Considered the most successful collaboration between blacks and Jews. Thirty percent of those involved in the Civil Rights Movement were Jewish; ninety percent of Civil Rights lawyers were Jewish.

1964 – Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, a Jew, were murdered in Mississippi. Seven Ku Klux Klansman were ultimately found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to seven years.

1964 – Passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964

1965 – Passage of the Voting Rights Act

1970s – The rise of Black Power, and the expulsion of many Jews from the movement.

1980s – Blacks and Jews work together to help establish Martin Luther King Day

1990s – Passage of the 1988 Fair Housing Amendments, the Civil Rights Restoration Act, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Bill, and the 1990 and 1991 Civil Rights Acts.

Stereotypes & Labels