Rosenwald Schools work in progress screens at University of North Carolina

On October 25th, Aviva Kempner presented the work in progress version of The Rosenwald Schools to an audience at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus. Joseph Jordan, director of the Stone Center, introduced Aviva and Angelo Franceschina. Angelo, who has worked to restore Rosenwald schools, participated in the Q&A with Aviva.

Aviva Kempner with Angelo Franceschina, Joseph Jordan

Before she left the next day, Aviva visited an art gallery on North Carolina Central University’s campus in Durham. An exhibit at the university’s art museum, the subject of a blog post a couple weeks ago, contains a large number of artworks by Rosenwald fellow Charles White, including the haunting print below that Aviva snapped a picture of.  The artworks on display at NCCU were loaned by the art collector Arthur Primas, better known as the manager of Tyler Perry.

“J’Accuse #6” on display at NCCU’s temporary exhibit: “Heroes: Gone But Not Forgotten, the Art of Charles White”
Photo credit: Aviva Kempner

Works by Charles White, Rosenwald fellow, on display at North Carolina Central University Art Museum

A couple weeks ago, a new exhibit featuring 47 works by the great painter and print-maker Charles White went on display at the Art Museum on North Carolina Central University campus.

White was a native Chicagoan who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. After graduation, he joined the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration, and produced one of the WPA’s best known murals entitled “Five Great American Negroes.” The mural, which features Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver and Marian Anderson was originally installed in the George Cleveland Hall Library on Michigan Boulevard in Chicago. This historic library is located just one block from the Rosenwald Apartments and was built on land donated by Julius Rosenwald to the Chicago Public Library. Today, the mural resides in the Law Library at Howard University.

“Five Great American Negroes,” by Charles White
Photo credit: Federal Arts Project of Works Progress Administration

Shortly after completing “Five Great American Negroes,” in 1942 and 1943, White received consecutive Rosenwald grants that allowed him to travel the south and study art. Around the same time, White married another Rosenwald fellow Elizabeth Catlett.

Admission to the museum is free and the exhibit will be on display until December 21st.

By Michael Rose