Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Cheryl Greenberg Publishes Book Examining Black-Jewish Relations

A new book, "Troubling the Waters: Black-Jewish Relations in the American Century" by Cheryl Greenberg, a professor of history at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., is getting strong reviews. Princeton University Press published the book, which it describes in these terms.

Drawing on extensive new research in 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 from the 1940s to the mid-1960s--its so-called "golden era"--and that this engagement galvanized and broadened the civil rights movement. But even during this heyday, she demonstrates, the black-Jewish relationship was anything but inevitable or untroubled. Rather, cooperation and conflict coexisted throughout, with tensions caused by economic clashes, ideological disagreements, Jewish racism, and black anti-Semitism, as well as differences in class and the intensity of discrimination faced by each group. These tensions make the rise of the relationship all the more surprising--and its decline easier to understand.

The Connecticut Jewish Ledger recently interviewed Greenberg about the book, in an extensive Q&A. In addition to Troubling the Waters, Cheryl is the author of "Or Does it Explode?": Black Harlem in the Great Depression and the editor of A Circle of Trust: Remembering SNCC.

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