New York: Various publishers, 1968-69. A small, but important, collection of opposing ephemera related to the polarizing 1968 Ocean Hill-Brownsville school crisis, in which cries of Jewish racism and black anti-Semitism reverberated througout these respective NYC communities. The crisis began in 1968 following the selection of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district, which was predominantly black and Puerto Rican, as one of three schools experimenting with decentralized community control. The school’s new governing board fired (or transferred, depending on the account) 19 teachers and administrators who were primarily Jewish and members of the predominantly Jewish United Federation of Teachers led by Albert Shanker. A one-day walkout in Brownsville led to a citywide strike that shut down the public school system for nearly two months. Shanker and other Jewish leaders accused the board of anti-Semitism and local blacks accused Jews of racism and paternalism. In one anonymously circulated leaflet reprinted in one of the items here, Jews are referred to as “Middle East Murderers of Colored People,” “Bloodsucking Exploiters,” “Money Changers, and the “So-Called Liberal Jewish Friend” of blacks. The text continues, “We Know From His Tricky, Deceitful Maneuvers That He is Really Our Enemy and He is Responsible For The Serious Educational Retardation Of Our Black Children.” It ends with a threat:
“We Want To Make It Crystal Clear To You Outsiders and You Missionaires [sic], The Natives Are On The Move!!! Look Out!!! Watch Out!!! That Backfire You Hear Might Be Your Number Has Come Up!!!! Cut Out, Stay Out, Stay Off, Shut Up, Get Off Our Backs, Or Your Relatives In The Middle East Will Find Themselves Giving Benefits To Raise Money To Help You Get Out From The Terrible Weight of An Enraged Black Community.”
Included in this grouping are:
Community Control and the False Issue of Anti-Semitism: Joint Statement of the Communist Party, U.S.A. and the Communist Party of New York State. New York: Communist Party of New York State, [ca. 1968]. The Community Party dismisses the claim that there is Black anti-Semitism and instead contends, “In a word, it is not the black people who are the oppressors of Jews. On the contrary, it is the white power structure, including a small sector of Jewish capitalists, which maintains and benefits from the oppression of black people.” A single sheet folded, 6 panels. Some toning to paper, else Fine.
LESTER, Julius. Problem is Racism, Not Anti-Semitism. New York: Freedom and Peace Party, 1969. Excerpts from remarks by black radio host, writer and future academic, Julius Lester, in which he dismisses the notion of black anti-Semitism and contends that blacks are just trying to escape the colonizing and paternalism relationship with Jews. Ironically, Lester converted to Judaism in 1982. An 8 ½” x 14” sheet printed recto only; three creases for mailing, else Fine.
Anti-Semitism in the New York City School Controversy: A Preliminary Report of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. New York: Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 1969. A detailed report by the ADL on the school controversy with an investigation of anti-Semitic acts and propaganda perpetrated against Jews in NYC. A note on the report blames a small number of black extremists and warns, “it is a time neither for panic nor Jewish anti-Negro backlash.” Folded, stapled sheets, 8 p. Heavy toning to cover sheets.
A flyer issued by the United Federation of Teachers reprinting the text of two leaflets disseminated in the black community that feature an anti-Jewish animus. 8 ½” x 14” printed recto only. Horizontal crease, some toning to paper. Item #07896