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Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0814797754
ISBN-10: 081479775X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Barbara Jacobs, a Brandeis student, returned to campus after working with black civil rights groups in the South in 1960, she found a limerick in her university mailbox that expressed a common prejudice faced by Jewish women activists, which read in part, "She said, I'm not a whore/ I just do it for CORE/ and color's the same without lights." Blending together 15 oral histories and archival research, Schultz shows how Northern Jewish women's commitment to social justice informed in part by living in the shadow of the Holocaust played out in a time of enormous political, social and personal upheaval. There are many, sometimes painful, ironies here: often Northern women discovered that their Southern Jewish relatives, already feeling vulnerable as outsiders, wanted nothing to do with them or the movement; some faced anti-Semitism (both passive and virulent) in Southern black church groups. But Schultz never resorts to easy answers, always trying to find a historical truth that's balanced between fact and empathy. Sharply observant of her informants' lives, Schultz opens a new window not only into the civil rights movement but also into the sociology of mid-century Jewish-American culture. Her analysis is most impressive at the book's end, when she perceptively describes the protean nature of Jewish identities in the U.S. Such insightful cultural readings and criticism make this a fine contribution to both the literature of the civil rights movement and the field of Jewish studies. (Apr.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"These oral histories are compelling and fascinating, and reclaim a history previously unavailable to us. An original and important contribution."

-Deborah Dash Moore,coeditor of Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia

"A fascinating text which adds to our understanding of recent Jewish Left and feminist politics and activism."

-Australian Jewish News,Aug. 2001

"Only recently are scholars beginning to pay full attention to the key role women played during the Civil Rights Movement. Going South is an important portrait of an often overlooked group whose work—both behind the scenes and on the front lines—helped transform our nation."

-Marian Wright Edelman,President, Children's Defense Fund

"A well-written, serious, and important book. I learned a great deal from this interesting and rich study."

-Joyce Antler,author of The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America

"More than an account of the Jewish women who went South to help in the Civil Rights Movement in the sixties, Debra Schultz has produced a fascinating investigation into the relationship between these women and their parents, their black colleagues in the movement, the Jewish communities in the Southern states, and their final difficult decision to leave the movement. Going South should be read by everyone interested in this vitally important period of American history."

-Helen Suzman,former Member of South African Parliament

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081479775X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814797754
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,243,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In a movement that unfortunately has been defined in the public perception by one charismatic black leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the commitment and plain hard work performed by women, black and white, has long been overlooked. Schultz's fine book adds a new chapter to the emerging fuller story of this freedom movement. Her skillful weaving of personal stories with the larger social context of the movement, and her analysis of the influence of Jewish notions of morality and social justice, make this an important addition of civil rights scholarship. Moreover, because it is so smoothly written and filled with fascinating stories, it accomplishes something rare in historical scholarship--it's fun to read!
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