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'Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow'
Exhibit opens May 7 at Levine Museum of the New South
Published Thursday, April 24, 2014
by Michaela L. Duckett

The exhibition "Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges" opens May 7 at Levine Museum of the New South. 

By the time World War II began on September 1, 1939, Germany had purged itself of Jewish professors, scientists, and scholars. A number of these academics found refuge in the United States. Dozens found positions at historically black colleges in the South.

The relationship between these two disenfranchised groups and the unique bond that grew between them is the subject of a new exhibit “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges,” opening May 7 at Levine Museum of the New South.

As recent escapees from persecution by the Nazis, the refugee scholars came face to face with the absurdities of a rigidly segregated Jim Crow society.

The mutual respect between the students and professors resulted in some of the refugee professors becoming involved in the Civil Rights movement.

Notable professors in the exhibit include: Ernst Borinski, John Herz, and Viktor Lowenfeld. Notable students include John Biggers, Joyce Ladner and Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the first black Surgeon General of the United States.

The exhibit also features stories of students and scholars with North Carolina ties. Dr. Ernst Moritz Manasse taught at the North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University) in Durham. Among the students: Charlotte attorney Julius Chambers, Eugene Eaves, Wade Kornegay and Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich.


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