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Archives | Rosenwald Film

Historic marker for Rosenwald School in Maryland to be unveiled

According to the Capital Gazette, a historic marker will be unveiled at the site of the Phumphrey Rosenwald School in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, this Saturday, November 29th. From the article:

The committee believes that honoring the second site with a commemorative plaque honors the contribution of the philanthropist, Julius Rosenwald and the contributions that students who attended the elementary school made to the local and state communities by becoming tradesmen, entrepreneurs, church leaders, clergy, federal workers, teachers, principals, and community organizers.

Read more at the Capital Gazette.

The Rosenwald Schools work in progress screens in Sarasota, Florida

Many thanks to Robert Fitzgerald for organizing a screening of our work in progress at the North Sarasota Library over the weekend. The event was held on Saturday, November 22, and the audience responded to the work in progress screening with warm applause. We were excited to hear from Robert about two of the audience members, Kate Harris and Lt. Col. George Hardy of the Tuskegee Airmen, have personal connections to the Rosenwald story.

Kate Harris is the daughter of Dr. Kenneth Clark, a noted African American educator, Civil Rights activist and psychologist who received a Rosenwald grant in 1940. Along with his wife, Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark (who received consecutive Rosenwald grants to study psychology in 1940, 1941 and 1942), Dr. Kenneth Clark contributed vital testimony in Brown v. Board of Education, where the Supreme Court found that school segregation led to a “feeling of inferiority” among black students.

Also joining the discussion was Lt. Col George Hardy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Lt. Col. Hardy trained at Tuskegee in 1944 at the Army air field funded by the Rosenwald Fund and served during World War II. The Rosenwald Fund’s involvement with the Tuskegee Airmen will be shown in the final cut of The Rosenwald Schools, scheduled to be released in 2015.

We’re so glad Robert Fitzgerald reached out to us about screening our work in progress. It sounds like he organized a wonderful event. Please contact cieslafdn@gmail.com if you would like to discuss screening the work in progress of The Rosenwald Schools at your upcoming event.

New center at New-York Historical Society will showcase women’s history, with spotlight on Zora Neale Hurston

According to The New York TimesArtBeat column, a new Center for the Study of Women’s History is planned by the New-York Historical Society, slated to open in late 2016. Among the new building’s features is a large-scale multimedia video that highlights significant female leaders from the past, including Zora Neale Hurston, who received a Rosenwald grant in 1935 to study anthropology.

You can read more about the project at ArtBeat. The editor of The Rosenwald Schools, Marian Sears Hunter, also worked on a great documentary about Zora called Jump at the Sun.

Civil Rights Act exhibit on display at Library of Congress

On September 10, 2014, until September 12, 2015, the Library of Congress exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle For Freedom”, will be on display. The exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. Interviewees from “The Rosenwald Schools” are part of the images in the exhibition, including Julian Bond and his colleague Rep. John Lewis, who is shown in a photograph on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington. Julian Bond provides narration for an introductory film for the exhibit on the Civil Rights Act and John Lewis appears in a second introductory film on the impact of the legislation. As a child, John Lewis attended a Rosenwald School in Alabama.

More details regarding the exhibition here.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signing The Civil Rights Act of 1964:


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Woodruff’s Talladega murals make their way to Washington

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Behring Center, Aviva Kempner, filmmaker of “The Rosenwald Schools”, attended a Director’s Preview and Reception commemorated the opening of “Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College”. We reported here in August that it was likely that Woodruff was awarded his Rosenwald Fellowships in 1943 and 1944 on the strength of this work. Two of the Woodfruff works in this exhibit were painted under Rosenwald Fellowships, including the painting “Poor Man’s Cotton”. This support allowed Woodruff to move away from the segregated South, to New York City, where he worked and taught the rest of his life.

The murals depict chapters from African American history such as The Amistad Trial, and The Underground Railroad. Woodruff, like Julius Rosenwald, was a native of Illinois, born in Cairo.

The exhibit runs at the Museum of American History through March 1, 2015.

Woodruff working on the Talladega murals:


Photo credit: Library of Congress via FSA/OWI