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Black-Jewish Relations at Penn

February 21, 2011

In the early 20th century, both Black and Jewish Americans had to struggle to overcome several discriminatory practices – employers were allowed to advertise positions for ‘Whites Only’ and ‘Gentiles Only.’ They both faced housing discrimination, and educational quotas prohibited both Jews and blacks. There was a mutual interest and concern between these two groups and this was reflected in the fact that Jews fought for civil rights in the United States, they were involved in the establishment of the NCAAP, and Blacks were among the first to denounce anti-Semitism.

At Penn, this historical relationship is further investigated through the Alliance and Understanding (AU) program. AU, a collaboration between the Greenfield Intercultural Center, Hillel, and the African-American Resource Center, explores the partnership between Blacks and Jews during the 1960’s, i.e. the Civil Rights era. The program’s goals are to develop an understanding between the Black and the Jewish communities on Penn’s campus and to inform the wider campus on Black and Jewish issues and on this important partnership in American history.


Christopher Carter, W’11

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