“Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow” at Illinois Holocaust Museum
How Jewish professors found jobs at black universities in the Jim Crow South.
A sign—jews not welcome—hangs over a German college’s gate; a U.S. association for Realtors document discourages home sales to certain races; a New York union broadside espouses anti-immigrant policy. Using these and other artifacts, paints a picture of a perverted era: Jewish professors—kicked out of German colleges—emigrated to the U.S. during WWII and gladly found jobs at black universities in the Jim Crow South. Laden a bit too densely with scene-setting objects, the exhibit saves the best part for last: In a video, former students describe their late German teachers with great eloquence—a poignant lesson that education is powerful when paired with an open mind.