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Empathy or Complicity? Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights

April 21, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

A virtual talk by Dr. Josh Parshall in collaboration with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies

Wednesday, April 21, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

The history of Jews in the American South is distinguished in part by the region’s particular history of anti-Black racism and segregation, but southern Jews’ varied responses to systems of segregation, discrimination, and exploitation defy easy characterization. While scholarly histories and popular memory often portray southern Jews as empathetic toward African Americans, some southern Jews actively and publicly defended the practice of segregation and nearly all Jews in the South benefited from having white status in a racially stratified economic and social system. In this talk, Dr. Josh Parshall will examine the long, complex, and sometimes contradictory history of southern Jews’ actions and inactions in response to the problems of white supremacy and Black civil rights.

Dr. Josh Parshall has served as the Director of the ISJL History Department since July 2017. This is his second stint at the ISJL, having previously worked as oral historian from 2009 to 2013. His academic interests include American Jewish culture and politics, Yiddish language and culture, and southern studies. He holds a Ph.D. from the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his dissertation research focused on southern branches of the Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle).

To register for this free, public event, click here:


April 21, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Carolina Public Humanities
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
The Carolina Center for Jewish Studies