It is a fitting tribute to Black History Month that our first February post is a tribute to Lore Rasmussen, a German Jewish refugee who was active in the Civil Rights Movement. Prof. Rasmussen recently passed away. Read more about her on JTA. She, along, with more than 50 other Jewish refugee scholars came to this country in the 1930s and 40s and found jobs in historically Black colleges.
Her story, along with many other inspiring professors and dedicated and accomplished students will be featured in our spring exhibition, Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges. It is a fascinating and hopeful story that explores the encounter between these scholars and their students, and their impact on each other, the Civil Rights Movement, and on American Society.
My recommendation is to bring a kleenex when you visit. Just watching the PBS film about the subject moved me (and some of my colleagues) to tears. The story is just so uplifting. Many of the students went on to have amazing careers in law, art, teaching etc. Notable students include Dr. Joceyln Elders, the former Surgeon General, artist John Biggers, and Dr. Joyce Ladner, the first female president of Howard University. Check back soon to learn more about all these extraordinary individuals.