[OPE-L:4706] Fwd: FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW- PBS FEB 1 2001 10 PM (fwd)

From: Patrick L. Mason (pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu)
Date: Fri Dec 15 2000 - 12:50:40 EST

This was forwarded to me from the Association of Black Sociologists List. 
Okay, it has nothing to do with value theory though it does have a great 
deal to do with human values. Folks affiliated with the New School for 
Social Research will recognize some similarities in this story with the 
development of The University in Exile, now known as the Graduate Faculty 
of Political and Social Science.

peace, patrick l mason

>X-Comment: CMUVM.CSV.CMICH.EDU: Mail was sent by hercules.acsu.buffalo.edu
>X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook IMO, Build 9.0.2416 (9.0.2911.0)
>Importance: Normal
>Date:         Fri, 15 Dec 2000 12:29:15 -0500
>Reply-To: Association of Black Sociologists <ABSLST-L@CMUVM.CSV.CMICH.EDU>
>Sender: Association of Black Sociologists <ABSLST-L@CMUVM.CSV.CMICH.EDU>
>From: Letitia Thomas <lthomas@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>
>Subject:      FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW- PBS FEB 1 2001 10 PM (fwd)
>         FYI...
>-----Original Message-----
>Subject:        FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW- PBS FEB 1 2001 10 PM
>For Immediate Release:
>Contact: Mary Lugo 770/623-8190/fenfam@negia.net
>Uncovers the Fascinating, Little-Known Story Of the Many Professors Who Fled
>Nazi Germany And Found New Lives At All-Black Colleges In the American South
>ITVS Presents FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW To Air Nationally on PBS in February
>1, 2001 at 10:00 p.m.
>"It was a great good luck of mine to find my first teaching job at a Black
>university where I felt I had so much in common with teachers and students."
>* Prof. John Herz, Howard University
>(San Francisco, CA) -The Independent Television Service (ITVS) presents FROM
>SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW, a fascinating and moving one-hour documentary that
>tells the previously untold story of the many German Jewish professors who,
>expelled from their homeland by the Nazis, found new lives and careers at
>all-Black colleges and universities in the South. Through in-depth
>interviews with many of the surviving professors as well as their former
>students, FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW uncovers a remarkable moment in American
>history and offers a fresh perspective on the complex history of race
>relations in America. FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW was directed by Lori Cheatle
>and Martin D. Toub and produced by Lori Cheatle, Steven Fischler and Joel
>Sucher in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with
>funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Only months
>after Hitler seized power in 1933, Jewish intellectuals who had held
>prestigious positions in Germany's renowned universities were targeted for
>expulsion. Those who dared to oppose the edicts were met with brutal
>suppression. Often leaving with little more than the clothes on their backs,
>many of these scholars fled to America, hoping to continue their academic
>careers.  They soon found themselves in a strange and mysterious country, a
>nation reeling from the Depression and ripe with anti-Semitic and
>anti-German sentiment.  While the most famous refugees, like Albert
>Einstein, were welcomed into the hallowed halls of Eastern academia, most of
>these refugee scholars faced an academic world that was aloof, if not
>downright hostile. Much to their surprise, many of them were welcomed into a
>group of colleges that the vast majority of white American professors
>ignored - the historically all-Black colleges in the South.  For the Black
>colleges, including Howard University, Hampton Institute, and Tougaloo and
>Talladega Colleges, the refugee professors provided the opportunity to add
>great talent to their faculty; for the professors, the arrangement provided
>a new home, a classroom of students eager to learn, and an insider's look at
>an America that few ever see.  While most of these pairings between Jewish
>refugees and Black colleges began as marriages of convenience, very often
>they blossomed into love matches that lasted a lifetime.  "They found a
>place where they could make a contribution, and they found a place where
>they could pursue their intellectual life.  They found a place where they
>could make a difference." - Dr. Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor, Jewish
>Theological Seminary Through interviews with several surviving academics and
>many of their former students, a fascinating story unfolds of men and women
>who found a true home in a community that, on the surface, was as remote as
>possible from the world they had known.   Living in the rural South during
>segregation, the refugees didn't fit on either side of the line.  Ostracized
>by their white neighbors, they socialized mostly within the university. If
>they invited their Black students and colleagues home, they risked a visit
>by the Klan.  But professors and students shared a profound connection - a
>common history of oppression and the knowledge of what it is like to be
>despised and persecuted based on race.
>"It was a relationship that was based on caring and concern and it developed
>a respect and appreciation that lasted my lifetime."
>* Jim McWilliams, former student, Talladega College
> >From the 1930s to the rise of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements,
>FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW is a mesmerizing chronicle of Jim Crow America and
>a profoundly moving tale of two seemingly different groups - the formal,
>heavily accented European scholars and their young, Southern Black
>students - who enriched each other's lives in ways still being felt today.
>* * *
>The Professors and their families
>Donald Rasmussen was Professor of Sociology at Talladega College, Alabama
>from 1942-1955.
>Lore Rasmussen was an Elementary Education Instructor at Talladega College
>from 1949-1955.
>Ernst Manasse served as Professor of German, Latin and Philosophy at North
>Carolina Central University from 1939-1973.
>Dr. Gabriel Manasse is the son of Ernst Manasse.
>Ernst Borinski, Professor of Sociology at Tougaloo College, 1947 to his
>death in 1983.  His legendary Sociology Science Forums served to bridge the
>gap between the races, bringing together Tougaloo students with members of
>the surrounding white communities.  He is buried on the campus of Tougaloo.
>John Herz was Professor of Political Science at Howard University
>(1941-1943, 1948-1952).
>Dr. John Lowenfeld is the son of the late Victor Lowenfeld, Professor of Art
>at Hampton Institute, 1939-1946.
>Yvonne Papenheim is the widow of Fritz Papenheim, Professor of German and
>Economics at Talladega College, 1944-1952.
>The Students
>Jim McWilliams is an attorney; he studied at Talladega College from
>Dr. Joyce Ladner, a sociologist and Senior Fellow in the Government Studies
>program at the Brookings Institution, made history when she served as the
>first woman president of Howard University (1994-95).   She was a student at
>Tougaloo College, Mississippi, 1961-1964.
>Dr. John Thomas Biggers is a renowned artist acclaimed for his complex,
>symbolic murals based on African American and African cultural themes.  He
>was a student at Hampton Institute, 1941-1946, where he was greatly
>influenced by art professor Viktor Lowenfeld.
>Eugene Eaves is Provost at North Carolina Central University; he was a
>student there from 1954-1958.
>Dr. William Jackson is Chairman of the Department of German at the
>University of Virginia; he was a student at North Carolina Central
>University from 1954-1958.
>Calvin Hernton is Professor of African-American Studies, Emeritus, Oberlin
>College and a nationally acclaimed poet and essayist.  He was a student at
>Talladega College from 1950-1954.
>Dr. Donald Cunnigen is an Assistant Professor of Sociology/Anthropology
>University of Rhode Island.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in
>Sociology-Anthropology and Afro-American Studies from Tougaloo College,
>Mississippi (1970-1974).
>John Hope Franklin is the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History
>for seven
>years was Professor of Legal History in the Law School at Duke University.
>He also served as chairman of the advisory board for "One America: The
>President's Initiative on Race."
>Dr. Ismar Schorsch is the Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
>Gabrielle Edgcomb is the late author of From Swastika to Jim Crow.  Carla
>Borden works at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian
>Clint Wilson is Associate Director of the Journalism Department at
>Howard University
>Frances Coker was a friend of the late Ernst Borinski, Professor of
>Sociology, German and Russian, Tougaloo College.
>Jim Loewen is a sociologist and the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me:
>Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong.  He served as a
>Teaching Assistant at Tougaloo College, Mississippi.
>Producers Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher
>Since the founding of Pacific Street Films in 1969, Steven Fischler and Joel
>Sucher have produced, directed and written award-winning documentary films
>on a wide variety of historical, cultural and political themes.  They have
>received numerous awards and grants, including Guggenheim Fellowships in
>Film, Emmy Awards, Cine Golden Eagles and the prestigious John Grierson
>Award for Social Documentaries.  Investigative films include Red Squad
>(1971) and Frame-Up: The Imprisonment of Martin Sostre (1974).  Free Voice
>of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists (1980) and Anarchism in America (1981)
>examined the history of this complex philosophy and the influence it has had
>on American culture and politics. They have also produced compelling
>long-form portraits of individuals, ranging from "Albert Szent-Gyorgyi: A
>Special Gift" (1984) about the late Hungarian Nobel prize winner, to rock 'n
>roll legend Frankie Lymon, "I Promise to Remember" (1983), as well as
>documentaries on several Hollywood luminaries, including "Martin Scorsese
>Directs" (1990), "Jessica Lange: It's Only Make Believe" (1991), and "Oliver
>Stone: Inside/Out" (1992).
>Director and Producer Lori Cheatle
>Lori Cheatle is a feature and documentary film producer.  She most recently
>served as producer of the films Stranger Than Fiction (dir.  Esther Bell),
>Stringer (dir. Klaus Biedermann, with Burt Reynolds) and was Line Producer
>on Corps Plonge (dir. Raoul Peck) and Tempest (with Maria de Medeiros and
>Jackie Berroyer).  In documentaries, Cheatle produced American Corner, a
>film about a Vietnam veteran community in Washington State and  "Behind
>Stringer" (dir. Amy Hobby, with Tawnee Welch). She has previously worked
>with Pacific Street on the films "Final Take: The Irvine Fertility Scandal"
>for Lifetime Television and "Sidney Lumet: An American Director" for
>Paramount Pictures and Aaron Spelling Television.  FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW
>marks her directorial debut.
>Co-director/Editor Martin D. Toub
>Martin Toub has directed, photographed and edited Pacific Street productions
>since 1986.  His shooting and editing credits for long-form documentaries
>include "Blue Helmets: The History of UN Peacekeeping" (PBS, 1988);
>"Martin Scorsese Directs" (PBS, 1991); "Jessica Lange: It's Only Make
>Believe" (Cinemax, 1992); and "Oliver Stone: Inside/Out" (Showtime/BBC,
>1993).  He has also directed the Pacific Street productions "The Lincoln
>Douglas Debates" (1993, which won an Emmy for best directing); "The Irvine
>Fertility Scandal" for Lifetime Television (1996), and most recently
>completed "The Other Half...Revisited: The Legacy of Jacob Riis,"
>underwritten by the Ford Foundation and the Corporation for Public
>Broadcasting.  Recently, Mr. Toub directed and edited a 12-part series,
>Exploring the World of Music, for Pacific Street, underwritten by the
>Annenberg Fund of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
>Unique in American public television, the Independent Television Service
>(ITVS) was established by Congress to fund and present programs that
>"involve creative risks and address the needs of underserved audiences,
>especially children and minorities," while granting artistic control to
>independent producers. ITVS has funded more than 375 programs for public
>television since its inception in 1991. Critically acclaimed ITVS programs
>Award-winning documentaries TRAVIS, A HEALTHY BABY GIRL, COMING OUT UNDER
>FIRE and THE GATE OF HEAVENLY PEACE, and duPont Award winners TAKEN IN:
>AFRICAN-AMERICAN STEELWORKERS. For information contact ITVS at 51 Federal
>St., First Floor, San Francisco, CA 94107; E-mail: itvs@itvs.org or visit
>the ITVS web site at www.itvs.org.
>For ITVS press releases, visit the ITVS Press Room online at
>Downloadable images of this program are available to press at
>An Interview with the Filmmakers
>Q:  How did you happen upon the story of the refugee scholars who came
>teach at all Black colleges?
>A:  Like several of our previous projects, we happened on the story of
>refugee scholars by chance.  In 1995, we saw a letter to the editor in
>New York Times.  The letter was decrying the fact that anti-Jewish
>sentiment was being stirred up by individuals like Khalid Mohammed, who
>was then giving inflammatory speeches at Howard University.  The writer
>recalled an era, little known, when Black colleges extended a hand to
>help Jewish scholars who were fleeing Nazi Germany.  The writer also cited a
>book, From Swastika to Jim Crow, that had been written on the subject,
>by a woman, Gabrielle Edgcomb, who was herself a refugee from Germany.  It
>turned out that the letter writer, John Herz, lived in Scarsdale, just a few
>minutes away from us.  He had been at Howard University in the 1940's, under
>the stewardship of Ralph Bunche.
>We then ordered the book, which was in limited release, found it
>fascinating, and contacted Gabrielle, then living in Washington. She was a
>charming, warm and outgoing woman, sort of a fixture in liberal circles in
>DC, and a veteran of the civil rights movement where she first heard some
>stories of scholars. Although she had limited research experience, she began
>primary source research into the subject, and managed to find a little
>financial help from, ironically, the German Information Service.  With a
>very small grant from the Lucius Littauer Foundation, we were able to travel
>to DC, and then to North Carolina, to film Gabrielle, several
>African-American students from the era, and one of the most beloved
>scholars, Ernst Manasse, then in a North Carolina nursing home (we were
>lucky-he died two years later).  We were also able to do the first of two
>interviews with John Herz and his wife.
>Unfortunately, for awhile, we were not able to raise further money for the
>production of the film, and sadly Gabrielle contracted breast cancer and
>passed away before we finally were able to complete the documentary (which
>now stands as a testament to her life and work).
>Q: When you tracked down teachers and students, did you find that many of
>them had kept in touch over the years?
>A it varied.  Some had kept in touch. Many did not.  Also, most had died
>before the filming of the project. In some instances, like with Ernst
>Manasse, he continued to teach at North Carolina Central all his life, and
>in his last few years was working on a massive work dealing with Plato (he
>was an internationally renowned scholar in this field), together with one of
>his former students.
>Q:  During your interviews, did you uncover anything that surprised you?  A:
>I think the thing that most surprised us was the love that developed between
>these teachers and students-it was respect that leveled the playing field,
>so to speak, between scholars brought up in a very structured authoritarian
>university system, and students who had never been exposed to European
>cultural traditions. There seemed to be, at least with the scholars we dealt
>with, a strong sense of mutual respect, without the kind of patronizing
>attitudes one might expect. The scholars themselves emphasized that they
>were students, absorbing much from their pupils, and grateful for the
>opportunities that these black colleges gave them.
>Q:  What do you hope viewers will take from the show?
>A:  We hope that viewers simply draw inspiration from these stories and use
>them as a vehicle for understanding that, despite the rhetoric, there is
>more that draws disparate groups together than potentially, and sometimes
>tragically, rips them apart. That is why we've embarked on the outreach
>campaign, together with ITVS and the Anti-Defamation League, designed to
>screen the documentary before mixed audiences, who then will engage in
>discussion regarding the issues the film raises.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Dec 31 2000 - 00:00:04 EST