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Friday Forum: Rosenwald

  • Fenimore 5798 New York 80 Cooperstown, NY, 13326 United States (map)
rosenwald and washington.jpg

Post-screening discussion with

Director Aviva Kempner

An idea that began as a dream of Booker T. Washington and Sears Roebuck chairman Julius Rosenwald—building local schools for African American children in the segregated rural South—has today become a major grassroots preservation effort to restore these historic and architecturally unique structures. Between 1912 and 1932, over 5,000 school houses (known as Rosenwald Schools), vocational shops, and teachers’ houses were constructed across fifteen states, and among their more famous alumni were Maya Angelou, Marian Anderson, Gordon Parks, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston. Many of these buildings have been in a state of abandonment or disrepair for a long time, but many others have now been saved through grassroots community efforts to rehabilitate and adaptively reuse them. Filmmaker Aviva Kempner shares her experiences researching the life of Julius Rosenwald (a son of immigrants) and she discusses the significance of the Rosenwald School story in today’s world. (Aviva Kempner, 2015, USA, 100 minutes)

Later Event: November 10
Friday Forum: Urban Tides