A partial reading list

The relationship between Black and Jewish Americans (and their musical ties) has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, documentaries, recording projects, and scholarly publications. Here is just a small sampling of what we’ve been reading and discussing.

Articles, Essays, Reviews

The Political Perils of a Black-Jewish Rift Over the War in Gaza by Charles M. Blow (7 February 2024, The New York Times)

Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They’re Anti-White by James Baldwin (9 April 1967, The New York Times)

Blacks and Jews: Fifty-Five Years After James Baldwin’s “Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They’re Anti-White”: Terrence L. Johnson and Jacques Berlinerblau Dissect a Classic American Polemic, Still Relevant Today (9 April 2022, LitHub)

Bridging the Gap Between Blacks and Jews in America by Terrence L. Johnson and Jacques Berlinerblau (13 February 2022, The Daily Beast)

Blacks and Jews, Again by Michael Eric Dyson (20 November 2022, The New York Times)

Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism by Eric K. Ward (29 June 2017, Political Research Associates/Public Eye Magazine)

Rabbi Abel Respes Spent Lifetime Urging Jews of Color to Discover Their Roots by Sophie Panzer (17 February 2021, Jewish Exponent)

Members of Whose Tribe? (28 April 2018, Code Switch, NPR)

Opera Through the Lens of Black and Jewish Communities by Yuval Sharon (27 April 2022, Detroit Jewish News)

Under the Hood by Zoé Samudzi (16 November 2022, Jewish Currents)

Guston, Whiteness, and the Unfinished Business of the Vile World by Steve Locke (December 2020, Artforum)

Rapper Meek Mill vows to ‘spread the word’ against antisemitism after Auschwitz visit by Dana Bash (23 April 2023, CNN)

Black and Jewish musicians and songwriters forged musical history—together by Denise Oliver Velez (28 November 2021, DailyKos)

The Unlikely Origins of “Strange Fruit”: The man behind the anti-lynching anthem “Strange Fruit” was a white, Jewish, Communist named Abel Meeropol by Matthew Wills (21 July 2016, JSTOR Daily)

How American Racism Influenced Hitler by Alex Ross (23 April 2018, The New Yorker)

“Jews and Black Music: A Difficult Relationship” by Keith Kahn-Harris (Spring 2004, Jewish Renaissance)


Blacks and Jews in America: An Invitation to Dialogue by Terrence L. Johnson and Jacques Berlinerblau (Georgetown University Press, 2022)

Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s by Marc Dollinger (Brandeis University Press, 2018)

Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law by James Q. Whitman (Princeton University Press, 2017)

Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin by Michael Lerner and Cornell West (Putnam, 1995)

Musical Projects

Abraham, Inc. (Fred Wesley, David Krakauer, SoCalled)

Tsvey Brider (Two Brothers)

Afro-Semitic Transcendental Repository Orchestra (A.S.T.R.O)

The Afro-Semitic Experience

Exhibitions and installations

David Hartt: The Histories (Le Mancenillier), Beth Sholom Synagogue

Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black–Jewish Relations (Aug 26, 2010–Mar 22, 2011, The Contemporary Jewish Museum)

Simple exhibit stands against hate during Jewish American Heritage Month: The Anti-Defamation League announced there has been a 34% rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents nationwide by TaRhonda Thomas (23 May 2022, ABC News Philadelphia)

On “Degenerate Music”

The Breman Museum, Entartete Musik (online)

Songs of exiles: rescuing ‘degenerate music’ from the shadows by Peter Brathwaite (27 November 2014, The Guardian)