Seeking the reasons behind Jewish altruism toward African-Americans, Hasia Diner shows how - in the wake of the Leo Frank trial and lynching in Atlanta - Jews came to see that their relative prosperity was no protection against the same social forces that threatened blacks. It thus became in the Jewish American self-interest to support the black struggle for racial justice and to fight against American prejudice. Jewish leaders and organisations genuinely believed in the cause of black civil rights, Diner suggests, but they also used that cause as a way of advancing their own interests without seeming "pushy" or "too demanding" - launching a vicarious attack on the nation that they felt had not lived up to its own pronouncements of freedom and equality.
Based upon thorough research and documentation, In the Almost Promised Land vividly illustrates the well-known but little-understood phenomenon of Jewish support for a better life for American blacks. Diner has produced a significant contribution to the examination of ethnic studies and an insightful analysis of certain aspects of the early years of the civil rights movement in the twentieth century. Cithara: Essays in the Judeo-Christian Tradition Helps explain why a special relationship between Jews and blacks developed within the context of a particular historical period and why that relationship ultimately ended. Historical Review Diner has neither idolized nor debunked the Jewish leaders who sought to help blacks achieve a better life. What she has done, and this should be a model for others writing ethnic history, is to examine the complexities that motivated one group of individuals to help another. Labor History No one has equaled the American historian Hasia Diner in richly documenting the strong support given to African-American legal, economic, and educational rights, between 1880 and 1935, by Jewish newspapers, religious leaders, lawyers, labor leaders, social workers, and philanthropists. -- David Brion Davis New York Review of Books