Check out the movie-- Rosenwald. It's in art theaters. This is a powerful movie telling the story about how a good, wealthy man can make a huge difference through generosity. I may have cried more times during this movie than any previous movie I've watched.
The movie is about Julius Rosenwald, the son of an immigrant, who became the CEO of Sears Roebuck. It includes interviews with many prominent black leaders and historians, including congressman John Lewis, Maya Angelou and Julian Bond, as well as footage from many famous black artists, like some of the ones listed later in this article.
Rosenwald helped fund over 5300 black southern schools, and painted, and outfitted them with desks and supplies from Sears. He put this project together with his friend Booker T. Washington. He also helped fund numerous YMCAs for blacks, since back then, at the beginning of the 20th century, blacks did not have access to Ys.
Rosenwald took a bottom-up approach to this. he'd provide one third of the money to build a school and asked the black community to raise a third and then asked the white community to supply the other third. And local black workers and students participated in building the school. This was inspired by Booker T. Washington, who had Tuskegee Institute's main buildings constructed the same way. Rosenwald also helped with funding to many other black colleges.
By the end of his work there were 5357 schools built in fifteen southern states. The people who built them, who taught at them and attended them called them Rosenwald schools.
Once the Supreme Court required equal access to education (Brown vs Board of Education) the schools were no longer needed. Rosenwald provided a third of the funding for that legal fight.
In addition to funding schools, Rosenwald funded Marian Anderson, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, Julian Bond's father and many other artists and scientists.
"Most people are of the opinion that because a man has made a fortune, that his opinions on any subject are valuable. Don't be fooled by believing that because a man is rich that he is necessarily smart. There is ample proof to the contrary. Most large fortunes are made by men of mediocre ability who tumbled into an opportunity and couldn't help but get rich."
Find it at a theater near you here
|The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.