In recent months, a marked anti-Jewish prejudice has been revealed by Negro publicists. On November 28, 1959, the Amsterdam News insinuated in an editorial that Jews (“one particular racial group”) dominated the radiology departments of New York City hospitals and blamed the Hospital Department for planning to deny promotion to a Negro roentgenologist and to fill a vacancy with a member of this same racial group. The editorial concluded by asking the Commission on Intergroup Relations to prevent “this type of racism.”… Simultaneously one senses, although perhaps one cannot prove, an increase of anti-Negro attitudes in the Jewish community. The more important cause for this new fear and hostility is the movement of Negroes into what were formerly Jewish neighborhoods. The classic example is the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Central Park West and West End Avenue and, perhaps, the multi-storied apartment houses on the side streets, remain all-white enclaves but everywhere else the neighborhoods is changing into a slum. The inevitable deterioration of the public schools, the overcrowding in the streets, the increase in “mugging,” all bring about a panic withdrawal, either flight to the suburbs or the more expensive all-white East Side or a determined effort to insulate oneself by sending children to private schools and keeping them off the streets. This new fear and consequent hostility is sensed by Jewish leaders in a new opposition to public school integration on fair housing practice acts and a vast indifference to Federal civil rights legislation relating to suffrage. Judge Leibowitz was voicing this fear when he complained that women in his neighborhood were fearful of walking to their homes from the subway and articulating underlying attitudes when he appealed for a temporary ban on emigration. Rights Owner: Maslow Armand, Laura Description: The text above is an excerpt from a paper Will Maslow read at the annual meeting of the Association of Jewish Community Relations Workers on January 11, 1960. He sent the paper to his colleagues at American Jewish Congress in preparation for their dinner meeting with African American leaders the following month. The paper, which he marked as “confidential,” deals with anti-Semitic tendencies in the African American community and the development of anti-African American tendencies in the Jewish community.
Suggested Discussion Questions:
For discussion questions and related lesson plan, see http://jwa.org/teach/livingthelegacy/civilrights/jews-and-civil-rights-movement-whys-and-why-nots
Time Period: Modern (Spinoza through post-WWII)