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Spiritual RadicalAbraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940-1972$
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Edward K. Kaplan

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300115406

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300115406.001.0001

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We Shall Overcome (1963–1966)

We Shall Overcome (1963–1966)

(p.214) 12 We Shall Overcome (1963–1966)
Spiritual Radical

Edward K. Kaplan

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Heschel's abhorrence of American racism, which he witnessed as soon as he stepped off the boat in 1940. This feeling deepened with his friendships with Larry Harris and Abraham Cronbach in Cincinnati, through which he learned more about the prejudices African Americans endured. Having experienced the ravages of European anti-Semitism, American racism was nothing new to Heschel. In 1958, he began to speak out publicly, making a sharp pronouncement to the Rabbinical Assembly deploring “our timidity and hesitance to take a stand on behalf of the Negroes.” In 1963, as the civil rights movement increasingly dominated national attention, he realized that his time to act had arrived.

Keywords:   civil rights movement, American racism, Larry Harris, Abraham Cronbach, African Americans, Negroes

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