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January 23, 2013

Now Open: Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars At Black Colleges, A New Exhibition Exploring The Early Civil Rights Movement At The National Museum Of American Jewish History, Through June 2

Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars At Black Colleges is open at the National Museum of American Jewish History through June 2, featuring more than 70 evocative artifacts and documents that tell the important World War II-era refugee story. (Top photo by G. Widman for GPTMC, bottom right and left courtesy NMAJH)

The National Museum of Jewish American History’s Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges exhibition is now open, through June 2. The highly anticipated exhibition shows how Jewish refugees and African-American students at historically Black colleges and universities supported one another and came together in search of freedom and opportunity.

Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow tells the story of Jewish academics who fled to America in the 1930s from Germany and Austria in the beginnings of the Nazis rise to power, and in some cases, were denied jobs and opportunities to teach at many universities. Many of these exiled scholars eventually found teaching positions at Black colleges in the segregated south and formed a deep connection with the African American students and people in the communities, recognizing the common experiences the two groups shared.

The exhibition showcases this relationship through more than 70 artifacts, documents and photographs. Highlights include receipts for fines professors paid for having lunch with a black colleague in Birmingham, paintings by Viktor Lowenfeld and his student John Biggers that show their influence on each other’s work, photographs of Albert Einstein at nearby Lincoln University and much more.

The exhibition also includes two films from the producers of the award winning PBS documentary, “From Swastika to Jim Crow,” which captures the voices of the scholars and their students.

Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars At Black Colleges will be open through June 2 and lives on the museum’s 5th floor. Throughout the run of the exhibition, the museum is hosting related special events and programs highlighting the connection of the Jewish and African American community.

Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars At Black Colleges
Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East
When:Now-June 2, 2013
Cost: Included in general museum admission
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Everything very interesting. I hope I get to visit the exhibits