Segments in this Video

Crown Heights, Brooklyn: Riot (02:48)


In 1991 Jewish and black neighbors fought in the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The riot arose from the accidental killing of a black child. A Jewish man was murdered in retaliation. Archival film footage follows the riot and the child's funeral.

Crown Heights, Brooklyn: Black/Jewish Conflict (02:30)

Poor blacks and poor Jews lived side by side with scarce resources. Anti-Semitism was reminiscent of the historical persecution of Jews. While only a minority of blacks and Jews were in conflict, media exaggerated it.

Good Samaritan (03:15)

Police involvement in the escalated the violence in Crown Heights. A black man helps an injured Jewish man. Media coverage only showed the injured man and not the Good Samaritan. The two men meet later and embrace in good will.

Black Teens and Hasidic Teens (03:16)

Hasidic teens and black teens asked questions of each other about behavior and appearance. After that, they tackled long-held stereotypes. Communication and activities positively changed.

Dialog between Blacks and Jews (03:14)

Across the country, small groups of Jews and blacks began dialoging to break down stereotypes. Dialog becomes competitive between two adults. Today's dialog groups cannot replace the political coalitions of the Civil Rights era.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (04:18)

King speaks out about inequalities blacks endure. In 1966, he brought the Southern Civil Rights movement to Chicago. Viewers learn about ghettoization, exploitation by real estate interests,

Banks vs. Chicago's Black Home Buyers (04:22)

Banks refused to make loans to black home buyers. Archival film footage reporting covers the real estate speculators who forced blacks out of their homes. Blacks organized increasingly large, vocal protests against big banks.

Evictions (02:57)

Jewish leaders joined the effort to pressure Lawndale real estate sellers to renegotiate contracts. Black homeowners protested by not making payments. Blacks were evicted and their belongings put on the streets. Guards fired guns on Jewish supporters.

Interracial Coalition's Success in Lawndale (03:27)

Jewish leaders were pressured to leave town. Though it was demolished, the interracial coalition accomplished most of its goals. The protests allowed many black families to keep their homes.

Million Man March (04:59)

Actors engage in a dialog about Jewish and black issues. Black and Jewish young people have a limited political vocabulary for making social changes. The Million Man March organized to promote change within the black community.

Role of the Nation of Islam (04:00)

The poorest blacks saw Islam as a place of safety and security. Former members of the Nation of Islam share how and why they joined the Nation.

Anti-Semitism on College Campuses (03:50)

The core of Farrakhan's "fire and brimstone" message is racist and based on genetic determinism. The anti-Semitic movement continues to expand as many college and university students learn about a history that did not exist and that is anti-Semitic in nature.

Jewish/Black Ritual Debates (03:36)

Jewish and black leaders go back and forth over issues such as the Holocaust. A black provocation elicits a Jewish response, and vice versa. These confrontations were media events.

Hollywood Stereotypes (02:57)

Jews played a major role in creating Hollywood studios in the early 1900s. To an extent, they sustained were responsible for encouraging stereotypes of black Americans. A Jewish director reflects on his Hollywood experiences.

Blacks in Hollywood (04:38)

A black member of the Hollywood Writer's Guild reflects on her Hollywood experiences. An excerpt from "Silver Streak" is included along with the director's remarks.

Anti-Semitism and Racism (02:14)

Prof. David Biale describes the double identity of Jews with respect to power. Prof. Clayborne Carson says the effect of anti-Semitism on Jews is unequal to the effects of racism. Actors have a dialog about the victimization of each race.

Incendiary Incident (07:25)

When a group of Castlemon High School students is accused of laughing at scenes from "Schindler's List," they were told to leave the theater. A media circus ensued, and the students involved held a news conference.

Interpretations of Incident (04:54)

Looking back on the incident of black students laughing while "Schindler's List" was playing, it became apparent that people took sides and made accusations. The aftermath widened the gap between blacks and Jews. Questions of identify became a central issue.

African-American Awareness Event (03:48)

As a result of the Castlemont High School incident, a teach-in was conducted. Black students learned about the African Holocaust--slavery, racism, and the legacy of white supremacy.

Steven Spielberg at Castlemont High School (04:25)

Gov. Pete Wilson accompanied Spielberg to Castlemont High School. Students say the school was cleaned up for the visit. Some saw the event as a political ploy on Wilson's part. Students offer their views on the visit.

Support or Political Gain? (04:06)

The student body president asked Gov. Wilson a pointed, multi-faceted question challenging his political and personal integrity. Jews and blacks must face their differences and work together for common goals.

Credits: Blacks and Jews (02:43)

Credits: Blacks and Jews

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Blacks and Jews

3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



During the civil rights movement, African Americans and Jews fought together for equal rights. But differences in economic status eventually led to divisive positions on issues such as affirmative action in education, Louis Farrakhan’s philosophies, and even a perceived “Jewish influence” in Hollywood. In this program, scholars and critics probe the history and psychology of the social marginalization shared by blacks and Jews. Key conflicts, such as New York’s Crown Heights riots and the “blockbusting” in Chicago that pitted Jewish homeowners against black home buyers, are examined from the perspectives of activists on both sides. With Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Cornel West, and others. (85 minutes)

Length: 85 minutes

Item#: BVL49748

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“Provocative and absorbing...Blacks and Jews will undermine stereotypes, inspire discussion, and help repair a wrongly damaged relationship.”  —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times  


“Well documented, balanced, and sensitive to nuance—an unusual combination in any film, but essential for a documentary on this controversial subject. I strongly recommend you see it!:  —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University....


“Wonderfully entertaining—and illuminating....Should be embraced by Jewish and black organizations.”  Variety

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Dealer customers.