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In Memoriam: Julius Lester

by Bennett Muraskin   JULIUS LESTER  (January 29, 1939-January 18, 2018) embodied the historic Black-Jewish bond in America, as well as Black-Jewish tensions, in his work as a prolific writer, folk musician, folklorist, and public intellectual — and in the very fabric of his identity. The son of a Black minister, he grew up in the upper South, graduated  […]

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If It’s Not Genocide, What Word Should We Use?

A DISSENT FROM OUR EDITORIAL ON THE BLACK LIVES MATTER PLATFORM by Dorothy Zellner From the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   I TAKE ISSUE with the Jewish Currents editorial, “Supporting the Black Lives Matter Platform, Its Slander of Israel Notwithstanding” (Autumn, 2016), in which the magazine unfortunately joined the pack of the hands-in-the-air-I’m–shocked-and-horrified Zionist […]

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March 17: Herbert Aptheker

Radical historian Herbert Aptheker, author of the seven-volume Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States and literary executor for W.E.B. DuBois, whose correspondence he published between 1973 and ’78, died at 87 on this date in 2003. Aptheker was a pioneering and prolific writer about black American history, including about slave revolts […]

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May 22: Langston Hughes

Poet, writer, and social activist Langston Hughes — whose paternal great-grandfather was a Jewish slave-trader in Kentucky named Silas Cushenberry, and whose second collection of poems was titled Fine Clothes to the Jew (Knopf, 1927) — was born in Joplin, Missouri on this date in 1902. Hughes was a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, […]

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Why Reparations Now?

Ta-Nehisi Coates Makes “The Case for Reparations” in The Atlantic — But Our Blogger Respectfully Disagrees by Bennett Muraskin SLAVERY ENDED IN 1865. Jim Crow about a century later. Civil rights legislation banned de jure discrimination and anti-poverty and affirmative action programs have provided a degree of remediation. Many government agencies were established to eradicate […]

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December 14: Philip and Jack Foner

Two of the four Foner brothers who were leaders in the American labor movement and progressive academic circles were born on this date in 1910. Philip Foner wrote and edited more than 110 books, many involving groundbreaking research: on American slavery, on black history, on women and social activists as agents of change in America, […]

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