Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern American

By Marc Dollinger | Go to book overview
Save to active project

A Different Kind of Freedom Ride:
American Jews and the Struggle for Racial Equality,

IN NOVEMBER 1971, Cincinnati's Jewish community, like dozens of others across the nation, welcomed the long-awaited Freedom Bus. In the midst of a two-month journey to the nation's capital, organizers of this “freedom ride” hoped to bring attention to repeated, flagrant, and abusive violations of human rights at the hands of an unsympathetic government. They staged rallies, gave speeches, and collected petitions for their cause, hoping to spark a grassroots movement for social change.

This bus did not carry black and white Americans risking their personal safety to fight racial segregation. These “freedom riders” lacked training in the nonviolent tactics of Gandhi and King. When they arrived in city after city, they did not protest the conditions of African Americans in a racist United States. They appealed instead for help in a struggle particular to the Jewish community: the rescue of Soviet Jews from the anti-Semitic policies of the Communist superpower. 1

The Cincinnati protesters, two Soviet Jewish emigres escorted by several American hosts, resembled the original freedom riders in name only. Their decision to invoke the language of the civil rights movement reflected their newfound enthusiasm for ethnic nationalist approaches to liberal reform. In the 1950s and early 1960s, American Jews joined African-American civil rights workers in accommodationist-based protests of racial segregation in the deep South. They lobbied Congress for a federal law protecting blacks and celebrated Lyndon Johnson's assent to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When the Voting Rights Act passed the following year, Jews cheered. Legislative victories achieved in the 1960s what constitutional amendments failed to win a century earlier: the end to state-sponsored racial discrimination. 2

Despite the impressive gains enjoyed by civil rights workers, legal protection did not always translate into an end to racial discrimination. Eliminating segregation in the rural South proved a daunting task. Achieving lasting economic, political, and social parity between the races seemed almost impossible. In the mid-1960s, civil rights leaders pushed


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern American


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 296

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?