Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow

On view now thru January 4, 2010 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage:

By the time World War II began on September 1, 1939, Germany had purged itself of its Jewish professors, scientists, and scholars. Some of these academics, deprived of their livelihoods by the Nazis, found refuge in the United States. But in this new world, they faced an uncertain future.

A few dozen refugee scholars unexpectedly found positions in historically black colleges in the American South. There, as recent escapees from persecution in Nazi Germany, they came face to face with the absurdities of a rigidly segregated Jim Crow society. In their new positions, they met, taught, and interacted with students who had grown up in, and struggled with, this racist environment.

Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow explores the unlikely coming together of these two groups, each the object of exclusion and hatred, and examines the ongoing encounter between them as they navigated the challenges of life in the segregated South.

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