The Pointe Coupee Historical Society is featuring Rosenwald: The Remarkable Story of a Jewish Partnership with African American Communites, an Aviva Kempner Film. Rosenwald is a documentary on the incredible story of how businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald joined with African-American communities in the South to build schools for them during the early part of the 20th century. This historical partnership as well as the modern-day attempts to maintain or reconfigure the schools is a great dramatic story, yet too little-known.
What did it mean to a community to have a Rosenwald School? At the time, most public schools for rural African-Americans– if there were schools at all–were run-down buildings with few, if any, amenities. If the county didn’t provide a public building, the children learned in lodge halls, and churches. To have a school and educators meant that the next generation would have a chance to move away from the often grinding poverty found in such areas, and not be solely dependent upon the land for sustenance.
The living story is about saving the schools today, the ongoing story concerns self-reliance and community pride. In the spirit of their grandfather’s tradition two Rosenwald granddaughters donate funds to re-establish the Rosenwald schools. At a time when financial hardships abound, it is imperative that this story be told now. It is the great story of a Jewish and African-American partnership.
The film will play during the week of February 19th, with six showings for local schools and on Thursday, February 22nd at 6:30pm for the general public. We invite you to join us and learn about a piece of local history!