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The “Israelite with Egyptian Principles”

Judah P. Benjamin was confirmed as Secretary of War of the Confederacy on this date in 1861. Benjamin was a plantation owner, slaveholder and attorney who had served as U.S. senator from Louisiana (the second Jewish senator in history after David Levy Yulee of Florida) and had twice declined appointment to the Supreme Court. Republican Senator […]

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December 19: Jews of Jamaica

England’s Privy Council granted full equality to Jews in the colony of Jamaica on this date in 1831 — at a time when the island was roiled by the largest slave rebellion in its history, with 200 plantations being seized by 20,000 enslaved people (under the leadership of Sam Sharpe, shown at right on Jamaican currency). […]

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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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