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Wild Burning Rage and Song: Replies to Scottsboro

Hosted By: YIVO

The Scottsboro Trials stand as one of the most renowned miscarriages of justice in the history of American jurisprudence. Beginning in 1931 with a false accusation of rape against nine Black teenagers, the case went on to invigorate a nascent Civil Rights movement, earn the international support of the Communist Party, and establish itself as a watchword among various strands of the American Left. It inspired reaction from the contemporary world of arts and letters as well, most famously by poets Langston Hughes and Richard Wright and novelist Harper Lee, who adapted its events in To Kill A Mockingbird.

The international, politically-oriented Yiddish intelligentsia of the thirties was no less galvanized, producing a body of creative response that passionately took up the themes of the trial, juxtaposing its American injustices with a diversity of images, tropes and language imbued with their own distinct histories of oppression.

Wild Burning Rage and Song: Replies to Scottsboro brings this world alive as a concert-lecture featuring Professor Amelia Glaser, author of Songs in Dark Times: Yiddish Poetry of Struggle from Scottsboro to Palestine (Harvard University Press), composer/vocalists Heather Klein and Anthony Russell, and composer/pianist Uri Schreter, performing their new settings of Yiddish and English poetry written in response to the pervasive climate of race prejudice that gave birth to the Scottsboro trials—and other injustices to come.

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