Black Jews. Members of cults that emerged in Harlem, New York City, shortly after the First World War. Prophet F. S. Cherry, one of the first leaders of the Black Jews, maintained that his followers were the true Israelites of the Bible, and that Jesus was black. Another important early Black Jewish figure was Arnold Ford from Barbados. Though grouped into a number of different sects, all Black Jews claim that they are descendants of Ethiopian Hebrews (cf. FALASHAS) who were deprived of their religion, sacred language (Hebrew), and names, during the era of slavery.
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