If there is one reason for us to read Waldo E. Martin Jr. and Joshua Bloom’s new book, Black Against Empire—and there is a good deal more than one reason—it should be this: The book reminds us of how close we came to a world in which America’s blacks were, in fact, acting like the Jews. In the 1960s and ’70s, the Black Panthers tried very hard to build a nation in which black people were sectarian, autonomous, and prosperous in much the same way Jewish communities throughout the United States had been for decades. And for their efforts, the Panthers were sabotaged, prosecuted, and murdered.
I wrote about blacks and Jews and the Black Panthers for Bookforum. Peep it here.