Carl Johnson, the last of Tuskegee Airman to graduate, still vividly remembers the challenges against segregation and bigotry the Tuskegee airmen from World War II had to overcome. The Tuskegee Institute, the historically black university founded by Booker T. Washington provided the airmen with rooms, food, hangars and flight instructors. It wasn’t until 2007 that Carl Johnson and other Tuskegee Airmen were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Colin Powell, who served as the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “You showed America that there was nothing a black person couldn’t do.” The nation’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture features their plane, the Spirit of Tuskegee. We salute them for their service!
The Julius Rosenwald Fund financed the building of Moton Field, the primary flight facility for the training of the African American pilots at Tuskegee Institute. The Rosenwald film closes with a segment about the airmen and includes footage of Eleanor Roosevelt (a board member of the Rosenwald fund) visiting and praising them. The upcoming release of the Rosenwald DVD and Extras will also feature a segment about the Tuskegee Institute and its mission.
The Cleveland County Training School #2, N.C. was damaged by a fire September 15. The building was a historic Rosenwald School and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s owned by Christ Temple Apostolic Family Worship Center Inc and was being used to store the church’s clothing closet and food pantry for the homeless, both of which perished during the fire. The damage was too extensive to determine the cause of the fire.
Ted Alexander, of Preservation North Carolina said, “It was the last Rosenwald related school in Cleveland County.” More than 5,000 Rosenwald Schools were established by Julius Rosenwald and were built across 15 southern states during the early 20th century and primarily used for the education of African-American children. “Those are nationally important so it’s sad that it burned.” Elder Mark McDowell, a Christ Temple board member says that despite the damage, they would still like the building redeveloped and renovated so its history can be preserved and be open to the community.
In 1951, John Dudley, Harold and Frances Suggs, and Eleanor Darden Stewart led a student organized walkout of their all-black Adkin High School in Kinston, NC to demand better conditions at the school. On Saturday, September 24 they were among the first members of the public to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Back in 1951, they came up with a list of demands including a proper gym, a vocational shop, more classrooms and a home economics area, and took them to a board of education meeting in Kinston. Despite the school board’s initial declaration of a lack of resources within 18 months the students got everything they asked for.
Adkin High School was a “Rosenwald school” built in 1928 for African American students with the help of philanthropist Julius Rosenwald who helped build many such schools across the South in the early 1900s. You can read more about the walkout here.
Visitors to the National Museum of African American History will have the opportunity to view desks from the Rosenwald Hope School in Pomaria, South Carolina.
The Northwest Georgia News is reporting on the upcoming 92nd Anniversary Celebration of the Fairview School Symposium and Gala Weekend, November 11 and 12. The event benefits the Fairview-E.S. Brown School in Cave Spring near Rome, GA, which is one of four buildings that stood on a Rosenwald campus.
The highlight of the weekend is the screening of Rosenwald on November 12 at the Historic DeSoto Theatre.
There are places in this world that should not be forgotten.
A little one-room school building in Cave Spring is one such place. It may not boast any fancy architecture and it doesn’t have a long list of famous alumni. But at one time, this small building represented hope, education and a future for many African American children across several counties. . . . Much of its history has been lost, but the building remains an example of segregated education and the impact it had on the children and the surrounding communities at the time. -“Forever Fairview: Restoring and Preserving History,” by Severo Avila, Features Editor, Northwest Georgia News