[Chicago Crossings: Bridges and Boundaries, reel 13]

Artists and curators involved with the Spertus Museum of Judaica's 1994 exhibit "Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings" discuss the plans for their show and the Chicago Historical Society's associated programming before breaking into a discussion about Black-Jewish relations and the viewpoints within the respective communities.

1:03Copy video clip URL Kathy Lieb and Morry Fred explain the potential mural project to the rest of the group. “The people that we’ve looked to are real familiar and know what we want and know what public art is all about and they all think it’s a great idea, no one has taken out their checkbook yet,” Lieb laments.

3:25Copy video clip URL The group talks about the title of the catalog, “Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings,” which also happens to be the name of the show, a fact which seems to have been unknown to some of the artists.

4:04Copy video clip URL Fred introduces Julia Perkins of the Chicago Historical Society, who begins by talking about the Historical Society’s April-May programming, most of which deals with Black and Jewish Chicago history. She then goes on to talk about the “Perspective Series,” a four-day scholarly programming series to take place in early June featuring speakers such as Cornel West.

12:48Copy video clip URL John Pitman Weber admires Perkins’ work and talks about the value of local voices and local archives that are often overshadowed by the national media.

16:08Copy video clip URL Perkins references the insular nature of the Black–Jewish conflict, saying that “when you go into the Latino area, when you go into the Asian area, they’re not that concerned about our problems.” Marva Jolly chimes in, explaining that growing up in Mississippi it wasn’t until she was a young adult that she heard the word “Jew,” and even longer before she learned of the Black–Jewish problem. Othello Anderson seconds this idea that the problem is a peripheral one in the Black community.

17:00Copy video clip URL Edith Altman gives her input on the matter, saying that it is in fact a topic in her Maxwell Street community, a neighborhood dubbed “Jewtown.” “At first it [bothered me], and then I thought, well, Greektown, Chinatown, Jewtown!” Altman recalls with a smile.

18:10Copy video clip URL Perkins talks about some of the criticisms of the Bridges and Boundaries program, including the issue of parity in the historical aspect of the exhibit.

 

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