The History of Jewish/African-American Relations

May 8, 2019 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Temple Beth Sholom
1274 Cunningham Lane South
Amber Giddings

Since the shootings in Pittsburgh, there have been highly publicized tensions between African American and Jewish American figures. But why is there a special historical relationship between blacks and Jews? What are the causes that unite and what divides?

“African Americans and Jewish Americans have interacted throughout much of the history of the United States. This relationship has included widely publicized cooperation and conflict, and—since the 1970s—has been an area of significant academic research. Cooperation during the Civil Rights Movement was strategic and significant, culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The relationship has also featured conflict and controversy related to such topics as the Black Power movement, Zionism, affirmative action, and the role of American and Caribbean-based Jews in the Atlantic slave trade.” (Wikipedia)

Professor Ellen Eisenberg will delve into these and other questions in this part of Intersections.

Ellen Eisenberg has taught in the History Department since 1990, and holds the Dwight and Margaret Lear Chair in American History. She teaches courses on American and African American history since the Civil War, American social history, American Jewish history, American immigration history, the 1960s, Reconstruction, and a research seminar called History in the Archives. Several of her courses serve as electives for the American Ethnic Studies program.

Ellen Eisenberg’s research centers on the history of American immigrant and ethnic communities, particularly American Jewish communities. Since the mid-1990s, she has focused on Jews in the Pacific West, with an emphasis on relationships between Jews and other minority ethnic groups. She has written four monographs on Jews in the West, as well as publishing a number of articles and book chapters. The First to Cry Down Injustice? Western Jews and Japanese Removal during WWII (2008), was a National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her a two-volume history of Jews in Oregon was published in 2015 and 2016. Courses she teaches at Willamette University: Nation of Immigrants, American Immigration History, African American History, 1865-present, Topics in American History, 1865-present, History in the Archives, American Jewish History, and History Workshop: Race and Ethnicity in the American West.

Dr. Eisenberg is the author of The Jewish Oregon Story, 1950-2010 (2016), Embracing a Western Identity: Jewish Oregonians 1849-1950 (2015), Jews of the Pacific Coast: Reinventing Community on America’s Edge (co-authored with Ava Kahn and Bill Toll, 2010), The First to Cry Down Injustice? Western Jews and Japanese Removal during WWII (2008), and Jewish Agricultural Colonies in New Jersey, 1882-1920 (1995).

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