When the black youngster Gavin Cato was struck and killed by the limousine escorting the local hasidic chief rabbi, and when shortly afterwards an Australian rabbinical student was murdered, the community in which these incidents occured, “Crown Heights” (part of Brooklyn, New York), became synonomous with Black-Jewish tensions, and achieved dubious international name recognition as an ostensible ethnic battleground.
Reverend Daughtry, long-time citizen of Brooklyn, and minister of The House of the Lord Pentecostal Church in a nearby neighborhood, characteristically became involved in the ensuing turmoil and media frenzy. The Crown Heights story was covered and predictably distorted by local and more widespread news organizations. Within the glaring spotlight of that coverage, Daughtry was frequently quoted, often inaccurately. Commonly, despite his denials and long experience seeking justice for all oppressed peoples, Daughtry was tarred with the ugly brush of anti-semitism.
This book is his attempt to set the record straight, to tell the true story of Crown Heights, and to relate it to similar stresses throughout the country, to respond to vicious charges leveled at him, and to interpret and clarify — which he was rendered unable to do effectively at the time — the ongoing relationship between two of New York’s most sizeable and outspoken ethnic groups. Blacks and Jews live in physically close but, admittedly, often uneasy proximity in Crown Heights and elsewhere. Neither group has, nor does any group desire, a monopoly on victimization but both have invoked historical and contemporary suffering in the ongoing battle that is New York (and, increasingly, national)politics.
This is a critical subject, and Reverend Daughtry is uniquely positioned to address it.