I’ve had the privilege to meet survivors of the Holocaust and I’ve also had the honor to meet some ordinary and extraordinary people involved in the American Civil Rights movement. It’s a unique opportunity to be able to share the world with these folks, and it’s a revelation to me that these two disenfranchised groups were looking out for one another as far back as the 1930s. Probably longer.
If you haven’t been to the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, go. And if you go between Oct. 13 and Jan. 21, you’ll be there when they showcase ‘Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges’.
When Jewish professors were forced out of Germany and Austria, many of them were invited to teach at historically black colleges and universities in the Jim Crow South. I haven’t read the book this exhibit is based upon (Gabrielle Simon Edgcomb’s From Swastika to Jim Crow: Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges) but now I want to read it – and I want to see this exhibit. An even tide lifts all ships and I’d imagine the partnership between these groups made quite an impact on establishing empathy, respect and recognition among them.
You can attend the Opening Reception on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. (call 727-820-0100, x 236 to RSVP) or plan to visit the museum during the exhibit dates. You’ll find more information at flholocaustmuseum.org and information about the area at VISIT FLORIDA.