Video screening

Film: Rosenwald

The ADORE (A Dialogue On Race and Ethnicity) group meet via Zoom on March 27th, 11:30am-2:00pm Hawai’I Time following the church service. Now that we have posted a newly revised Black Lives Matter banner in front of our church building on the Pali Hwy, one which includes the statement, “we oppose antisemitism,” it seems timely to learn a bit about the history of Black Americans and Jewish Americans working together for social justice reform in America.

We viewed and discussed writer/director Aviva Kempner’s inspiring 100-minute film documentary, Rosenwald, which will take us back a century to the era of extremely restrictive Jim Crow laws and culture. This film beautifully portrays the little-known cooperative efforts of Jewish American philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, who was the CEO of Sears, and African American educator Booker T. Washington, author, orator, and adviser to several U.S. presidents. Among the many civil rights endeavors Rosenwald and Washington collaborated on were the creation of over 5,000 schools for African American children in the South and the establishment of a generous fund for grants to be given to African American artists, writers, intellectuals, historians and others. Four notable graduates of Rosenwald schools are author and poet Maya Angelou, Congressman John Lewis, journalist Eugene Robinson, and playwright George Wolfe. The Rosenwald Fund recipients included giants such as James Baldwin, W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Augusta Savage, Jacob Lawrence, Ralph Bunche, Marian Anderson, Gordon Parks, Dr. Charles Drew, and the Tuskegee Airmen. The influence of these Black community leaders has had untold positive reverberating influence up until the present. Julius Rosenwald was deeply inspired by the Jewish tenets, tikkun olam (repair the world) and tzedakah (righteousness, fairness, justice, charity) as well as Booker T. Washington’s writings and philosophy.

Guest speaker

“That is 800 children”: Nazi Germany, the United States, and Dismantling Global Anti-Blackness and Racism

Description of presentation:
Dr. Emanuela Kucik will give an overview of the relationship between Nazi Germany, the United States, and anti-Blackness. Through this focus on the similar, deadly ways that anti-Blackness functions in various spaces, she aims to contribute to conversations that provide an expanded narrative of the Holocaust and allow us to better understand the global intersections of oppressive systems. In discussing how these connected structures sustain each other, she emphasizes that dismantling one piece of systemic oppression can begin to unravel the others.

Dr. Emanuela Kucik is an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies and the Co-Creator of the Africana Studies Program at Muhlenberg College, where she was recently awarded the 2021 Ruth and Joel Spira Prize for Distinguished Teaching. Her interdisciplinary research and courses explore the intersections of literature, genocide, race, and human rights violations, and her forthcoming book focuses on how Black populations have used the concept of genocide to write about anti-Black violence.
Dr. Kucik received her PH.D. and M.A. in English from Princeton University with certifications in American Literature, with a concentration in Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies; Holocaust Literature; and Genocide Literature. At Princeton, she also earned a Doctoral Graduate Certificate in African American Studies. She received her B.A. with Highest Distinction (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Faculty page at Muhlenberg:

Suggested resources:

  • Clarence Lusane’s “Hitler’s Black Victims” (book);
  • Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste” (book);
  • Robert Kesting’s “Forgotten Victims” (article);
  • Raffael Scheck’s “They were just savages” (article);
  • Hans Massaquoi’s “Destined to Witness” (book);
  • Carol Anderson’s “Eyes Off the Prize” (book);
  • Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing” (book);
  • “Race: Are We So Different?” by Alan H. Goodman, Yolanda T. Moses and Joseph L. Jones (book and exhibit);
  • We Charge Genocide (historic petition to the UN)
Guest speaker

Helping the community of Ferguson, Missouri to heal since the death of Michael Brown, Jr. in 2014

We heard anthropologist and educator Jacquelyn A. Lewis -Harris, Ph.D. speak about her most current project in helping the community of Ferguson, Missouri to heal since the death of Michael Brown, Jr. in 2014. Since that time there have been many more deaths as well as the effects of COVID-19 on communities of color; her healing efforts are crucial.

Guest speaker

The Pōpolo Project

We listened to a presentation about The Pōpolo Project by founder and director Dr. Akiemi Glenn. A discussion followed.

Dr. Glenn holds a B.A. in linguistics from New York University and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. “Her primary interests are in how Indigenous peoples, refugees, captives, migrants, and other diasporic peoples in the Pacific and the Americas use language to construct, navigate, and politicize their identities.” She describes The Pōpolo Project as “a Hawai’i-based nonprofit organization that redefines what it means to be Black in Hawai’i and in the world through cultivating radical reconnection to ourselves, our community, our ancestors, and the land, changing what we commonly think of as Local and highlighting the vivid, complex diversity of Blackness.”