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.
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.
Aviva Kempner and her film are mentioned in this article from Architect Magazine, written by Witold Rybczynski.
The article talks about the architectural style used for the Rosenwald schools. Booker T. Washington and Rosenwald’s concept for these projects were community self-help, the buildings were designed and made by the people who would then use them. Advising handbooks were written by Robert Robinson Taylor, who had designed buildings at Tuskegee and many HBCs.
As the school house project moved from Tuskegee to the Rosenwald Fund after the death of Washignton. Rosenwald sought advise from Fletcher Bascom Dresslar, a professor of health education at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville. He gave Rosenwald much advice on how to design the school buildings. He focused on functional, simple, traditional buildings. Rybczynski compares them to Shaker architecture.
Frank Lloyd Wright also proposed a design for a Rosenwald School in 1928. His version was far more ambitious, it included a courtyard with a swimming pool and a proscenium stage. Its construction would have included pioneering use of concrete and fieldstone that he would use on later buildings. Wright’s Rosenwald School was never built, probably because it would have been too expensive.
Even with their traditional appearance, the schools incorporated many innovative elements. One example was removable walls, which meant that two classrooms could be combined into one larger room. Classrooms were arranged with large windows facing east and west, which gave the highest possible amount of sunlight to the individual rooms. As many of the buildings did not have electricity, this was a necessary feature.
In total, there were 5,357 Rosenwald schools, shop houses, and teacher’s houses built. Despite arson, vandalism and deliberate neglect from white communities, most remained in use until the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling went into effect in 1954 and specifically black schools were no longer a necessity. Since then, many have fallen into disrepair. However, The National Trust For Historic Preservation is working to restore many of the schools. Additionally, many of the buildings have found new uses as town halls, community centers, and more.
Eve Mangurten, project archivist at the Highland Park Historical Society, writes today about Julius Rosenwald for the suburban section of the Chicago Tribune.
As Rosenwald’s wealth increased, so did his philanthropy. He said, “I believe in giving when I am alive.” Rabbi Emil Hirsch of Chicago Sinai Congregation inspired Rosenwald to value an essential aspect of Judaism, giving charity.
Award winning veteran journalist and news panelist Clarence Page is an interviewee in The Rosenwald Schools. At 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 26,, 2014, Page will read from a thirty year compilation of his columns, at Politics & Prose Bookstore at 5015 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C.
Page has long been associated with Chicago, where Julius Rosenwald lived, and helped build the Wabash Avenue YMCA. One of the nation’s most recognized columnists and broadcast commentators, Page has earned a Pulitzer Prize and a National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been a regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group. His new book Culture Worrier: Selected Columns 1984-2014: Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change marks the 30th anniversary of Page’s print debut in The Chicago Tribune. The collection represents the impressive range and depth of his commentary on social issues, foreign policy, and politics.