Rosenwald News


Last updated 2/6/2019 at 3:09pm

Courtesy Photo

Julius Rosenwald and students from one of the Rosenwald Schools.

In June of 2015, I headed down the mountain to Greensboro to represent our area at the National Rosenwald School Conference. The learning, sharing and fellowship were incredible. A few of the highlights included meeting Rosenwald alumni from other areas, hearing from Julius Rosenwald's living relatives, and the preview of a film about this man and the many lives that he touched. At the Carolina Theatre, conference attendees were treated to screening of the documentary written and directed by Aviva Kemper called "Rosenwald: A Remarkable Story of a Jewish Partnership with African American Communities."

The film has made its rounds nationally since its premiere in February 2015, even coming as close to us with a screening in Asheville. Thanks to the sponsorship of the Friends of the Library, we will have a free showing of "Rosenwald" in the Rogow Room from noon to 1:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 11. The film is 95 minutes and, of note, it is a worthy example of positive change that can occur when wealth, power and influence are used for the good of humanity. Because of his humble nature and modesty, Rosenwald's philanthropy and social activism are not so well known, even today. In his lifetime, he gave away $62 million. The film will turn the spotlight on Rosenwald himself, as well as the people who were helped by his philanthropy.

The summary on IMDb describes the film as, "a documentary about how Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, the son of an immigrant peddler who rose to head Sears, partnered with Booker T. Washington to build 5,400 Southern schools in African American communities in the early 1900s during the Jim Crow era. Rosenwald also built YMCAs and housing for African Americans to address the pressing needs of the Great Migration. The Rosenwald Fund supported great artists like Marian Anderson, Woody Guthrie, Langston Hughes, Gordon Parks and Jacob Lawrence. Among those interviewed are Civil Rights leaders Julian Bond, Ben Jealous and Congressman John Lewis, columnists Eugene Robinson and Clarence Page, Cokie Roberts, Rabbi David Saperstein, Rosenwald school alumni writer Maya Angelou and director George C. Wolfe and Rosenwald relatives."

While you are at the library for the Rosenwald film, visit the displays for Black History month. Thanks to Edith Darity and Marcy Thompson for the great job they did in setting things up. Downstairs, the display features African American history from generation to generation, along with a celebration of Bethel "A" Baptist's 100 years of worship (1919 to 2019.) Upstairs, the display features local comedienne Jackie "Moms" Mabley (stage name). She was born Loretta Mary Aiken in Brevard in 1894 to James Aiken and Mary Smith. She was one of 16 children.

Additionally, back at the Transylvania County Library, to honor Black History month, you can take in a free showing of the movie "Selma" on Feb. 14. You may bring a bag lunch if you like. Popcorn will be provided. Showtime is at noon and runs through 2:15 p.m. "Selma" pays tribute to the unforgettable true story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights in face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965 and the story that surrounds it, shows how the movement prompted change that altered history forever.

From noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the library's Rogow Room, there will be a follow up to the Rosenwald documentary. Past students and alumni from our Brevard Rosenwald School will share their personal experiences, remembrances and insights. Mark your calendars, as you will not want to miss this opportunity to hear directly from those who lived this valuable part of our community's history. As before, you are invited to bring a bag lunch. Cookies and coffee are generously provided.

In other news, to continue with the 100th year celebration for Bethel "A" Baptist Church, here is an anonymous "I Remember" sharing.

In Memory Of Mom and Auntie

Memories are the essence of all things stored in our life cycles. As we progress through our daily activities, taking notes and sharing detailed reports, how many times do we actually consider the last words said or heard that will become part of our memories? One of life's most entertained processes is contributed to what we remember - Hey, I remember how excited my family got when Saturdays came around and our Rev. Samuel Raper came to visit his members of Bethel "A" Baptist Church. He came to our home, especially to visit with our aunt who was bedridden. I remember how special it made us kids feel. We even helped with getting the housework done.

Lastly, new Black History walking and bus tours have been added to the Morning Glory Inspirations website. You can find out more about what is on their calendar at under the Historical Tours and Book Now tabs. You may also request a different time or date if you don't see any time slots that work for you. Customized tours, trainings and workshops are also available for your group or organization.

(Newsworthy items for submission for Rosenwald Community News are welcomed from community members, churches, clubs and groups. If you have an idea for a story or interview, contact Nicola Karesh at [email protected], or call (828) 421-8615. Enjoy your week.)

Courtesy Photo

Edith Darity gets the February "African American History from Generation to Generation" display ready.


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