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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

October 7, 2011  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

Holocaust Museum presents two fall exhibitions


Professor Ernst Borinski teaching in the social science lab, Tougaloo College, MS, circa 1960. 
Courtesy of Mississippi Department of Archives and History Professor Ernst Borinski teaching in the social science lab, Tougaloo College, MS, circa 1960. Courtesy of Mississippi Department of Archives and History • ‘Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges’

• ‘Seeking Justice:The Leo Frank Case Revisited’

The Florida Holocaust Museum will offer two exhibitions during the fall that center on hatred and persecution of minorities in the South.

On view from Oct. 13 through Jan. 21 will be “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges.” Also on display from Oct. 17 through Feb. 5 will be “Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited.”

The exhibit “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow” tells the story of Jewish academics from Germany and Austria who were dismissed from their teaching positions in the 1930s. After fleeing to America, some refugee scholars found positions at historically black colleges and universities in the Jim Crow South. The exhibition explores what it meant to the students to have these new staff as part of their community, how the students were affected by their presence, and what life was like for white, European Jews teaching at black colleges and universities. The exhibit looks at the empathy between two minority groups with a history of persecution, some of whom came together in search of freedom and opportunity, and shared the early years of struggle in the Civil Rights movement.


A headline from a 1915 issue of the Atlanta Constitution tells of Leo Frank being taken from jail by a mob, which later hanged him. The mob was angered and took matters into its own hands after the Georgia governor commuted Frank’s sentence from death to life in connection with the slaying of a 13-year-old girl. Frank maintained his innocence. 
Courtesy of the Breman Museum A headline from a 1915 issue of the Atlanta Constitution tells of Leo Frank being taken from jail by a mob, which later hanged him. The mob was angered and took matters into its own hands after the Georgia governor commuted Frank’s sentence from death to life in connection with the slaying of a 13-year-old girl. Frank maintained his innocence. Courtesy of the Breman Museum The exhibit is inspired by Gabrielle Simon Edgcomb’s landmark book From Swastika to Jim Crow: Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges and the subsequent PBS documentary by Joel Sucher and Steven Fischler of Pacific Street Films. The exhibit includes artifacts, photographs, and two new films, by Sucher and Fischler, featuring both the professors and the students. It begins with the dismissal of the refugee scholars from German universities and continues through their search for positions in the United States. It highlights the backgrounds of the black students and follows the professors and students coming together to teach and learn and to share a community on campus. The exhibit includes their mutual participation in the Civil Rights movement and concludes with a look at the impact of the contributions of the professors and the students to American life.

There will be an opening reception and panel discussion for “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow” on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the museum. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. The reception is free to members of the museum. General admission is $9 and may be applied to museum membership the evening of the event. RSVP to (727) 820- 0100, ext. 236.

The Leo Frank case

“Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited” recounts the racially charged and tragic events surrounding the murder of Mary Phagan in 1913 and the lynching of Leo Frank just two years later. National and local media covered the murders, which remain officially unsolved and controversial nearly a century later.

On April 26, 1913, the body of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a white Christian girl, was found brutally murdered in the basement of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta. The 29-year-old Jewish superintendent of the factory, northern-bred Leo Frank, was arrested for the crime. Frank’s sensationalized trial, his conviction and his sentence to death were followed by Georgia Gov. John M. Slaton’s fateful decision in 1915 to commute Frank’s sentence to life in prison.

That decision resulted in Frank’s kidnapping from the state prison and mob-led lynching outside of Marietta, GA, in Cobb County. These events captured the attention and sympathies of national and international audiences and launched far-reaching social, legal and cultural changes. Ironically the Frank episode stimulated both the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan and the reaffirmation of the mission of the Anti-Defamation League. The case was the driving force behind a number of Supreme Court rulings that redefined due process and sparked decades of debate over Frank’s innocence. “Seeking Justice” features interviews with descendants of family and friends of Leo Frank and Mary Phagan and other key players in the trial, new documentary materials, and artifacts that have never before been exhibited.

Admission to the museum at 55 Fifth St. S. in St. Petersburg is $14 for adults; discounted admission is offered to seniors, students, adult and student groups and AAA members. Admission is free to active duty military, museum members and children 6 and under. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday; the last admission is 3:30 p.m. Call (727) 820-0100, or visit www.flholocaustmuseum.org for directions and further details, including holiday closures.

Related events

There are three related events to the fall exhibitions at the Florida Holocaust Museum.

• Bonnie Gurewitsch, curator of the “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow” exhibit, will speak about the exhibit on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota. The event is free.

• Heidi Beirich, director of research, Southern Poverty Law Center, will present a program, “The Rising Tide of Hate in America,” on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Florida Holocaust Museum. The event is free to museum members and is $9 for general admission.

• Historian, USF professor and author Ray Arsenault will present a program “Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at freefall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. This event is free to museum members; $9 for general admission.


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