Congressman John Lewis last week was honored with the National Book Award for his work March: Book Three. The congressman made reference to his time in a Rosenwald school as a youth and spoke about the nation today, and the future he sees and hopes for. Although Rosenwald may have died many years ago, those touched by his life are still being honored for their exceptional additions to society; and through extension thus honor Julius Rosenwald.
Staunton, VA: Rosenwald screened at Mary Baldwin University last week. The local synagogue and local African-American church co-hosted the screening. This partnership undeniably would have made Julius Rosenwald smile. Rosenwald school alumni from neighboring Waynesboro spoke after the film about their experiences going to a Rosenwald school and being given an opportunity in a time when few opportunities were given to those of color. After the discussion it was formerly decided to start a local Jewish/African-American coalition. Rosenwald would be proud that we still strive to come together in a divisive time.
The National Trust announced this month that they will be parting ways with Tracy Hayes and Katherine Carey; two people instrumental in the National Trust’s continued involvement with the preservation and support of the Rosenwald School network. It has been stressed that the departure of Tracy and Katherine should indicate no diminishment in the Trust’s continued support of the schools and their continued dedication to restoration and funding of Rosenwald schools. Under the leadership of these two women, the National Trust secured the Rosenwald school’s place on the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list, partnered with Fisk University in a massive archival effort to preserve Rosenwald artifacts, gathered 2.5 million of grant money for the school, and numerous other accomplishments to the betterment of Julius Rosenwald’s legacy.
Tracy was especially helpful in the making of the Rosenwald film. We hope that the movement to restore the schools continues. In our upcoming DVD release of the film, included will be four hours of extras and a whole section on the measures taken to restore Rosenwald schools.
Last week Aviva Kempner travelled to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for a screening of Rosenwald and to deliver a talk on the film. Her remarks were an installment in the Sylvia and Irving Margolis Lecture on the Jewish Experience in the American South. The event was hosted by the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, a sub department within UNC Chapel Hill that seeks to “unite the general public, students and faculty from various academic disciplines who share a common passion for a deeper understanding of Jewish history, culture and thought.” (CCJS Mission Statement)
On November, 15th Southern Vermont College will welcome Rosenwald director Aviva Kempner for a screening and talk following the film. As well as giving her talk, Kempner will also be discussing the film and related topics with Southern Vermont College Humanities students and Bennington’s Temple Beth El.