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Fight Against Fear
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Fight Against Fear (Hardback)

£49.50
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Synopsis

Unity and discord at the crossroads of Jewish and black life in the South In the uneasily shared history of Jews and blacks in America, the struggle for civil rights in the South may be the least understood episode. Fight against Fear is the first book to focus on Jews and African Americans in that remarkable place and time. Clive Webb begins by ranging over the experiences of southern Jews up to the eve of the civil rights movement. He then shows how the historical burden of ambivalence between Jews and blacks weighed on such issues as school desegregation, the white massive resistance, and business boycotts. Although many Jews grappled as never before with the ways they had become - and yet never could become - southerners, their empathy with African Americans translated into only scattered, individual actions. The reasons for this are clear, Webb says, once we get past the notion that the choices of the much larger, less conservative, and urban-centered Jewish populations of the North define those of all American Jews.

To understand Jews in the South we must look at their particular circumstances: their small numbers and wide distribution, denominational rifts, and well-founded anxiety over defying racial and class customs set by the region's white Protestant majority. For better or worse, we continue to define the history of Jews and blacks in America by its flashpoints. By setting aside emotions and shallow perceptions, Fight against Fear takes a substantial step toward giving these two communities the more open and evenhanded consideration their shared experiences demand.

Clive Webb is a lecturer in American history at the University of Sussex.

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