Rosenwald was shown to an excited full house at a special screening at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland on Sunday! The screening was prompted when a fan, Evelyn Korman, saw the film in Philadelphia and was so moved by it that she encouraged her synagogue to arrange the event.
Alma Hackett and Newell Quinton (who were interviewed in the film) also came out from Santa Domingo to attend the screening and give a talk.
After the talk, Evelyn and Bernard Korman brought copies of Peter Ascoli’s book, Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South to pass out with the help of Rabbi Peter Hyman.
The event was sponsored by Temple B’nai Israel, The Frederick Douglass Honor Society, the NAACP, Talbot Association of Clergy and Laity, and The Academy Art Museum.
Historians in Buffalo, NY have a new exhibit to add to their lists! Burchfield Penney Art Center now has a public display that is “the most comprehensive look at John Brent’s life and legacy to date”. John Brent, the first black architect from Buffalo, is responsible for many famous structures including two entrance gates to the Buffalo Zoo (both found on the National Register of Historic Places), designing the construction plans for the Michigan Avenue YMCA, and a YMCA camp in Wales.
Many of you may know Peter Ascoli- as well as being a grandson of Julius Rosenwald, he is featured prominently in our film, in which he served as a consultant. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he also holds a BA from Oxford, a Masters from Northwestern, and a PhD from UC Berkeley. He’s known to many people as many different things- Professor, consultant, fundraiser- and author.
Ascoli has written a detailed biography of his grandfather’s life in his book, Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South. If you enjoyed the movie and want to learn more about Julius Rosenwald, then this book will offer you plenty of great insights in to the life of the great philanthropist. The book is published by Indiana University Press and is available through their website and through Amazon.com, available in both trade paperback and hardcover, as well as on Kindle.
Today, Teaching for Change listed the film Rosenwald as a learning resource in their newsletter about the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement! The newsletter also featured a great deal of other valuable resources, several available learning opportunities, and Civil Rights Movement events. You can learn more about Teach for Change and sign up for their mailing list by visiting their website.
Rosenwald opened on August 28th at the Avalon Theatre, DC’s independent movie theatre, and played for a wonderful eight weeks. As the theatre is located close to The Ciesla Foundation and was saved by us in the community, this run was very significant. Audiences in the Washington, DC area came in droves to the theatre where lively discussions were held. Director Aviva Kempner was surprised on the film’s last night, October 22nd, when flowers were presented to her from the talented Brian Henderson, who designed the film’s poster. Thanks to Brian and the wonderful audiences who came to see the movie!
A new art gallery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan will be opening this week, giving art lovers everywhere a chance to check out some fresh works. This gallery is no average institution, however: it’s funded by a donation left by Jacob Lawrence and his wife Gwendolyn, before Jacob’s untimely death in 2000.
Equity Gallery is founded by the New York Artists Equity Association, or Artists Equity for short. Mr. Lawrence was a long-time member of Artists Equity and even served as its president. He and his wife were avid supporters.
The gallery is located at 245 Broome Street and will be open starting Wednesday. The opening show is titled 2015:1947 and will feature paintings, sculptures and videos by eight different artists.
Jacob Lawrence’s Great Migration paintings and backstory can be found featured prominently in the Rosenwald film.
On October 15, Paul Theroux went on NPR to talk about his new book, Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads. In the interview, Theroux- along with host, Michael Kransy- discusses the condition of poverty in the deep south. They state that the best way to lift people out of poverty is by creating jobs in lieu of outsourcing them. Theroux also argues that education is an important aspect of poverty prevention that is overlooked. He uses Julius Rosenwald’s actions to set an example of what can be done to help impoverished areas. He also mentions our movie!
You can also read more about Theroux’s views on poverty in this article he wrote for the New York Times.
In addition to Theroux’s comments about Julius Rosenwald, North County Public Radio also ran an article all about the Rosenwald schools that you can read here.
Recently, a fan of the Rosenwald film, Christine Clark, reached out to us with information about a ship named after Julius Rosenwald. Christine writes;
“I don’t have information on the Rosenwald schools, but I have often wondered who Julius Rosenwald was. My father, Francis Clark, was a Merchant Marine and during WWII (when the Coast Guard commissioned the Merchant Marines into service), my Dad was on the liberty ship, Julius Rosenwald. … [Rosenwald] touched more lives than we can imagine”
“I am pretty sure that photo is from World War II. My Dad enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1941 and stayed with them until his retirement in 1969. He died in 1984 and I never knew which liberty ships he was on during the War. My Mom died in 2014 but had dementia so I was never able to get details from her. I found this photo after we cleaned out Mom’s home. I just did some research via the Net to find out who Julius Rosenwald was because I was curious as to why a ship was named after him.”
Between 1941 and 1945, the United States produced 2,710 Liberty ships for use by the U.S. fleet and for delivering war materials to Britain and the Soviet Union. The first Liberty ship constructed, the SS John Henry, set a precedent for naming the ships after prominent American figures. The cargo ship design was chosen for its low-cost construction. Surprisingly, many of the ships outlived their 5 year life expectancy with over 2,400 surviving World War II.
On the note of surviving Liberty ships, Christine also shares this information with us:
“… only two that I know of remain, one is the Jeremiah O’Brien in San Francisco and the other is John W. Brown (not sure where that is located)”
“This Liberty Ship was built by J.A. Jones Constr. Co., Panama City, Florida, Hull #1533. It was at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
It was scrapped in March 1963.
Hope this information helps some.
The ship was laid in the Panama City shipyard on July 7th, 1943, and launched on September 13th of the same year. Throughout the next year, the ship spent a total of 84 days on ways and in the water. During this time it was badly damaged during an enemy attack. It was sold to a private seller in 1947, and as we’ve learned from Christine, scrapped in March of 1963.
A memorial was held for the civil rights activist Julian Bond on Tuesday, October 6th in Washington, DC. The Lincoln Theatre was packed with those who came to pay their respects to this great intellectual and civil rights leader, reports Washington Post reporter, Hamil Harris. Director Aviva Kempner attended the moving memorial and mourned both a friend, and the man who inspired inspired the making of the Rosenwald film, served as a consultant, and was interviewed for the film. His life’s work should compel us to keep on fighting for justice in America.
On October 3rd, Aviva set out to New Mexico for the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival. New Mexico is not unfamiliar territory for Aviva. She once lived there when working with VISTA as a volunteer.
The SOLD OUT screening of Rosenwald commenced on October 3rd and was followed by a discussion with Aviva. As an added bonus, Aviva returned the next day for a screening of her previous film, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.
Oct. 1st – Eager students discuss film on the day before it opens in Florida
Left to right: Students of Booker T. Washington Senior High, Alexis Moseley from Commissioner Sally Heyman’s office, City Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Rosenwald filmmaker, Aviva Kempner holding the Visitor Certificate of Appreciation from the office of County Commissioner, Sally Heyman, Miami-Dade NAACP President, Dr. Shirley B. Johnson, and Pastor Williams, photo courtesy of The Ciesla Foundation
Left to right: Alexis Moseley from County Commissioner Sally Heyman’s office, Dr. Shirley B. Johnson, Miami-Dade NAACP President, Rabbi Marc Labowitz, Aviva Kempner, Director/Writer of Rosenwald, Principal William Aristide, City Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Pastor Kenneth L. Washington
To celebrate the October 2nd theatrical release of the new film, ROSENWALD, the Historic Booker T. Washington Senior High School in Miami, Florida, hosted a student meet and greet with the film’s director, Aviva Kempner, the NAACP Miami President, Dr. Shirley Johnson, City Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Pastor Williams, and Rabbi Labowitz. The event was initiated as a way to bridge the gap of diversity and bring awareness to the students about how philanthropist Julius Rosenwald was influenced by the writings of educator Booker T. Washington, the schools namesake. The students were able to participate in a discussion from very important community leaders as they talked about the themes in the film such as the meaning of charity, the importance of education, social responsibility, and how Rosenwald’s efforts helped educate many prominent African American figures such as Tony Award winning playwright George Wolfe, poet Maya Angelou, U.S. Representative John Lewis, Anita Hill and Pulitzer Prize winner Eugene Robinson.
The students were encouraged to dream big and take part in making a change within their community in the same spirit of Julius Rosenwald. The County Commissioner Sally Heyman’s office presented Aviva Kempner with a Distinguished Visitor Certificate of Appreciation for bringing this important film to South Florida. The students in attendance will be going as a school sponsored field trip to watch the film once it opens at the AMC Aventura 24 Theater.
Julius Rosenwald’s work was not only appreciated by the communities he touched, but inspired those communities, and many others outside of it, to get involved with the improvement of education in rural African Americans in Jim Crow South. The L1 Gallery of Atlanta, Georgia will be showcasing the photography of Dr. Horace Mann Bond (father of the late Julian Bond). Horace Mann Bond was an amateur photographer, who was able to capture Rosenwald’s work first hand in the South. You can see the exhibit through the month of October 2015 at the L1 Gallery in Atlanta, GA at 828 Ralph McGill Blvd Ste.1. Click here for more information.