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Many Americans tell the story of Black-Jewish political relations like this: First, there was the Civil Rights movement, where the two groups got along great.

This was the mid-1950s to the mid-60s — picture Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. marching arm-in-arm from Selma to Montgomery. And James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, murdered while organizing to register black voters in Mississippi.

Then, the story goes, there was a shift. In the mid-’60s, with the rise of black nationalism (and what some describe as black anti-Semitism), “the once wonderful alliance dissolved and split. And since the mid 1960s, it’s been terrible.”

That, says historian Marc Dollinger, is “the accepted wisdom on how to understand Jewish participation in the civil rights movement.”


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