A National Park for Julius Rosenwald, Rosenwald Schools Updating, and a Pi Day to Remember

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Take care, Aviva and the Ciesla staff.





A Rosenwald Park

A bill authored by House Democratic Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Danny Davis of Illinois (who is interviewed in Rosenwald) would establish a national park to honor Julius Rosenwald, the philanthropist who established schools throughout the South to remedy the afflictions of segregation. This week the Natural Resources Committee advanced the bill.
“Julius Rosenwald was a visionary philanthropist whose altruism and philosophy of giving embodied the Jewish concept of tzedakah — social justice and charity,” Cohen said. “He partnered with African American communities across the South to help build schools for children with limited access to good public education.” 

Rosenwald School News

Citizen Times from Asheville, North Carolina reports on the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School:
In other Rosenwald school updates, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has announced the Eleanor Roosevelt School building in Warm Springs, Georgia has been has been sold to Debron Williams and his sister Voncher Williams, who are keeping preservation in mind moving forward. The Trust made the announcement on March 14, 2020.

Pi Day

March 14th is known to some math enthusiasts as “Pi Day,” and to even more as the birthday of legendary physicist Albert Einstein. Looking back, it’s hard to forget one of his most iconic birthdays in 1949, when children who were relocated from a displaced persons camp visited Einstein at his home in Princeton, New Jersey. Also present, the man responsible for the children’s visit, none other than Julius Rosenwald’s son, William Rosenwald. We were proud to have interviewed William Rosenwald’s daughters, Alice Rosenwald and Elizabeth Varet, in Rosenwald.


Image from Time.com, Albert Einstein celebrating his 70th birthday with children from a displaced persons camp on March 13, 1949, at his home in Princeton, N.J. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Madam C.J. Walker tackled the politics of black hair. More than a century later, the battle still rages on.
(Photo of Madam C.J. Walker from Biography.com: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


Series Debuts on the Life of Madam C.J. Walker

Businesswoman Madam C.J. Walker is the subject of Self Made, a new series on Netflix. Among her many accomplishments, Walker generously contributed to the founding of a Black YMCA in Indianapolis. Her story is also featured in Rosenwald. 
Self Made is based on the true story of Walker, an African American washerwoman who rises from poverty to build a beauty empire and become the first female self-made millionaire. The series stars Octavia Spencer as Walker along with Tiffany Haddish and Carmen Ejogo.

Watch a Free Rosenwald Bonus Feature on Madam C.J. Walker

The Ciesla Foundation also produced a bonus feature on Madam Walker, which is among the four-and-a-half hours of bonus features found on the Rosenwald DVD. Order your DVD here and enjoy a preview, as we are offering the Walker bonus feature for free.

A’Lelia Bundles

We were honored to interview DC-based journalist and writer A’Lelia Bundles in Rosenwald. Bundles spoke of how her great-great-grandmother Madam C.J. Walker donated funds to build a YMCA in Indianapolis. 

After you see the Netflix series on Madam Walker, make sure to pick up her book Self Made (the inspiration for the series starring Octavia Spencer). Self Made was originally published as On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker.

A’Lelia Bundles (above) 
and her book Self Made (below) 
From www.aleliabundles.com

Local Advice on the Pandemic

The Ciesla Foundation is located in Washington, DC in Ward 3. Our councilwoman, Mary Cheh, sent out these instructions as we all endure the pandemic:
“These tragic losses underscore the need for all of us to seriously undertake social distancing and to stay at home whenever possible—not just for our own sake, but for the safety and wellbeing of each other, especially in consideration of the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions that make them especially vulnerable to this virus.”

‘It’s not right:’ Cumberland residents say planned landfill will disturb historic school, possible burial grounds

“CUMBERLAND — Just inside the front door of the 100-year-old Pine Grove School in Cumberland County’s small Cartersville community, the soft wood underfoot groans and gives under Muriel Branch’s steps.

“I walked three and a half miles to get here, each way, each day,” says Branch, sweeping her gaze around the one-room schoolhouse where she received her elementary education from 1949 to 1955. “Pine Grove School really means something to me.”

One of at least 360 Rosenwald Schools built in Virginia from 1917 to 1932, Pine Grove School was founded to better educate African-American students in Cumberland.”

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2IlBGnT

Renovations Begin at Rosenwald School

Read Full Article Here

“…Volunteers gathered last Saturday for a window raising in honor of the school’s 100th anniversary celebration. The Julius Rosenwald School Foundation of Northumberland County plans several renovation projects over the next few months including ceiling and floor restoration. To donate to the cause, go to jrsfnc.org, or call Brenda Yerby Bullock, 304-270-6716. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi”

Northampton County, NC, Once Home to 21 Rosenwald Schools

Dennis Babb from the Northampton County Museum in Jackson has researched the history of Rosenwald schools in the county. “When consolidation and integration began, the Rosenwald Schools closed,” Babb said.

The schools were all built on similar floor plans making them easy to identify and there were 21 of them. Only a few remain, but some have found new life in their communities as a community center or as center rented out for events. Read the article in The Daily Herald here.

The Potecasi Rosenwald school building (above) reopened as a community center last year with the support of alumni and community leaders. Photo by Cal Bryant, The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald