College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Diverse Duo of Men to Discuss Intertwining Legacies April 30

… Final event brings Holocaust survivor, Tuskegee airman together to share and compare histories

The historical and cultural connections between African-Americans and Jews during World War II will be discussed by representatives from both groups April 30 at the University of Mississippi.

The event, titled “Two Sides of a Coin: Reflections on Racism, the Holocaust and the Power of Prejudices,” begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center, Room 147. A reception will follow and the public is invited to attend.

“This is the final lecture in a six-part series featuring scholars and other noted speakers of Judaism and cultural history,” said Willa Johnson, a UM associate professor of sociology who wrote a $22,000 grant for public programming that was awarded to the UM Critical Race Studies Group by the Association of Jewish Studies-Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project in 2011. The grant supports public programming at UM in 2012-2013 through a lecture series titled “Intertwining Legacies: Jews and African-Americans in the Deep South.”

Panelists for the discussion include Brooklyn artist Fred Terna, a Holocaust survivor of Lipa, the Terezin Ghetto, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Kaufering IV, a subcamp of Dachau; and Eugene Richardson, a Tuskegee airman and educator. Krista Hegberg from the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum will introduce the men and the topic by providing a bit of cultural background about the Holocaust and the period as experienced by African-Americans and Jews.

Previous lectures in the series featured W. David Nelson, Sander L. Gilman and Bloomberg News managing editor Jonathan Kaufman, a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Co-sponsors lending support to the lecture series include the university’s African-American Studies Program; Center for the Study of Southern Culture; College of Liberal Arts, the departments of History, Philosophy and Religion, and Sociology and Anthropology, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies; School of Law; Trent Lott Leadership Institute; and William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

“Fred Terna and Eugene Richardson are remarkable men whose lives make learning about the intertwining legacies of African-Americans and Jews both an honor and a necessity,” Johnson said. “Their presence alone underscores the importance of studying the real life impact of racialized prejudices.

“The Critical Race Studies Group, led by Jeffrey Jackson, is so pleased and immensely proud to close the series with such historic figures.”

The series of lectures is the work of many collaborators, Johnson said.

“Intertwining Legacies would not have been possible without the generous funding by the Association for Jewish Studies-Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project, our campus partners and the behind-the-scenes work carried out by several faculty members, including Kirk Johnson, associate professor of sociology and anthropology and African-American studies; Barbara Combs, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology and Southern studies; James Thomas, visiting professor of sociology and anthropology and Southern studies; Jodi Skipper, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology and Southern studies; Jennifer Snook, sociology instructor; Matthieu Dessier, sociology instructor and documentary photographer; Andy Harper, director of the Media and Documentary Projects Centers; John Green, associate professor and director of the Center for Population Studies; Kirsten Dellinger, associate professor and the chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; and Jeffrey Jackson, associate professor of sociology and anthropology, and a host of administrative support from Elaine Abadie, Evelyn Braxton and Callie Casteel,” she said.