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Blacks and Jews in America

Blacks and Jews in America

An Invitation to Dialogue

Terrence L. Johnson
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A Black-Jewish dialogue lifts a veil on these groups' unspoken history, shedding light on the challenges and promises facing American democracy from its inception to the present

In this uniquely structured conversational work, two scholars ― one of African American politics and religion, and one of contemporary American Jewish culture ― explore a mystery: Why aren't Blacks and Jews presently united in their efforts to combat white supremacy? As alt-right rhetoric becomes increasingly normalized in public life, the time seems right for these one-time allies to rekindle the fires of the civil rights movement.

Blacks and Jews in America investigates why these two groups do not presently see each other as sharing a common enemy, let alone a political alliance. Authors Terrence L. Johnson and Jacques Berlinerblau consider a number of angles, including the disintegration of the "Grand Alliance" between Blacks and Jews during the civil rights era, the perspective of Black and Jewish millennials, the debate over Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Ultimately, this book shows how the deep roots of the Black-Jewish relationship began long before the mid-twentieth century, changing a narrative dominated by the Grand Alliance and its subsequent fracturing. By engaging this history from our country's origins to its present moment, this dialogue models the honest and searching conversation needed for Blacks and Jews to forge a new understanding.


Terrence L. Johnson is an associate professor of religion and politics in the Department of Government and a senior research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. He is an affiliate member of the Department of African American Studies and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. He is the author of Tragic Soul-Life: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Moral Crisis Facing American Democracy, as well as the forthcoming We Testify with Our Lives: How Religion Transformed Radical Thought from Black Power to Black Lives Matter.

Jacques Berlinerblau is a professor of Jewish civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He has published on a wide variety of issues ranging from secularism, to religion and politics, to Jewish American fiction, and higher education. He is the author of ten books, including Heresy in the University: The Black Athena Controversy and the Responsibilities of American IntellectualsHow to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious FreedomThe Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion SeriouslySecularism: The Basics, and The Philip Roth We Don't Know: Sex, Race, and Autobiography. His writings have been featured or discussed in The Chronicle of Higher EducationThe New York TimesWashington PostThe Forward, CNN, NPR, and PBS among other media outlets.


  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press (February 1, 2022)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Hardcover:  224 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎164712140X
  • ISBN-13: 9781647121402
  • Item Weight: ‎13.6 ounces
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