The Educational Legacy of Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington with Dorothy Canter, Marian and Valerie Coleman, Stephanie Deutsch, Andrew Feiler and Aviva Kempner

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Working with African American intellectual Booker T. Washington, Jewish businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald established challenge grants that lead to the creation between 1912 and 1937 of almost 5,000 schools, known as Rosenwald Schools, for African American children throughout the segregated south.

Learn from our distinguished guests who have dedicated their time to documenting, preserving, and sharing the historical and educational legacy of Washington and Rosenwald, “one of the earliest collaborations between Jews and African Americans,” according to photographer Andrew Feiler. They discuss Rosenwald and Washington’s historic partnership, the impact the Rosenwald schools had on the African American community and the importance of remembering and preserving their legacy.

  • Dorothy Canter is the founder of the Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools National Historic Park Campaign.
  • Marian Wheeler Coleman was once a student at a Rosenwald school-the Noble Hill School that her great grandfather helped build. The restored school is now a Black heritage museum, first curated by Marian and now by her niece Valerie Coleman.
  • Stephanie Deutsch, whose husband is a great grandson of Julius Rosenwald, is the author of You Need a Schoolhouse: Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South.
  • Andrew Feiler is author of the photodocumentary A Better Life for Their Children: Julius Rosenwald, Booker T. Washington, and the 4,978 Schools that Changed America.
  • Aviva Kempner is a filmmaker who created the documentary Rosenwald about the incredible story of how businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald joined with African American communities in the South to build schools during the early part of the 20th century.

This program is in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr Day.

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