Schools of Hope: How Julius Rosenwald Helped Change African American Education

Overview

When Booker T. Washington, the famed African American educator, asked Julius Rosenwald, the wealthy president of Sears, Roebuck and Company and noted philanthropist, to help him build well-designed and fully equipped schools for black children, the face of education in the South changed for the better. It was the early 1900s, a time of discrimination, racial segregation, and inadequate education for African Americans. Rosenwald created a special fund that in just twenty years built more than 5,300 schools ...

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Overview

When Booker T. Washington, the famed African American educator, asked Julius Rosenwald, the wealthy president of Sears, Roebuck and Company and noted philanthropist, to help him build well-designed and fully equipped schools for black children, the face of education in the South changed for the better. It was the early 1900s, a time of discrimination, racial segregation, and inadequate education for African Americans. Rosenwald created a special fund that in just twenty years built more than 5,300 schools attended by 600,000 black students. In this inspiring story, noted nonfiction writer Norman H. Finkelstein spotlights one man’s legacy and the power of community action. Includes quotations, a detailed bibliography, and index.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Finkelstein does a solid job of introducing both a person and a history most readers will know nothing about. Julius Rosenwald, the owner of Sears, Roebuck & Company, was determined to share his affluence with those less fortunate. . . when Rosenwald met Booker T. Washington, he was taken aback to learn about the deplorable conditions of black schools in the South. Within 20 years, his foundation helped build more than 5,000 new schools in 15 southern states. . . The text clearly explains how the schools were built, the enthusiasm for them, their successes, and how the legacy of the Rosenwald schools lives on. The archival photographs are particularly well chosen and often moving. . ." --Booklist 

" . . . This straightforward narrative is substantially supported with many photographs of the period, especially of the schools and the students. Source notes, a bibliography, a list of websites, an index and picture credits add to its authenticity. Clean layout and design augment a quality introduction to an important chapter in the history of American education." --Kirkus Reviews

"This highly accessible, beautifully illustrated book tells how a Jewish tycoon helped provide educational opportunities for countless African Americans. . . This is a fascinating look at how one man's vision changed the lives of more than 600,000 people through increased educational opportunities. The book is superbly illustrated with numerous black-and-white, excellently captioned photos. . . " --School Library Journal

School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 5–8—This highly accessible, beautifully illustrated book tells how a Jewish tycoon helped provide educational opportunities for countless African Americans. Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck, and Company, used his millions to support social causes like YMCAs, hospitals, and universities. In 1911, his life's purpose was forever changed after reading Up from Slavery and then meeting the author, Booker T. Washington, who introduced him to the deplorable educational opportunities offered African Americans in the South. Rosenwald put his personal philosophy of "Give While You Live" into practice by establishing the Rosenwald Fund for "the well-being of mankind." Its largest accomplishment was to help build, furnish, and staff schools for African Americans in the rural South. Before the program ended in 1932, it had contributed funds to help build more than 5300 schools. Rosenwald Schools, as they were known, operated until the 1960s when they were closed due to forced school integration. Rosenwald did not just give money to build schools-he required community "buy-in" from both the black and white communities in an effort to promote racial reconciliation. This is a fascinating look at how one man's vision changed the lives of more than 600,000 people through increased educational opportunities. The book is superbly illustrated with numerous black-and-white, excellently captioned photos. A first purchase, and of special interest for Jewish collections and communities with Rosenwald Schools.—Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-26
Julius Rosenwald, the man responsible for the early-20th-century success of the Sears, Roebuck Co., also improved education for African-Americans who were just decades away from slavery. The son of German-Jewish immigrants, Rosenwald's financial prosperity and family upbringing led him first to support Jewish causes and then charities in his hometown of Chicago. Despite differences in religious traditions, he became a supporter of the Young Men's Christian Association movement. His donation to an African-American YMCA facility and reading of Booker T. Washington's autobiography, Up from Slavery, began the work for which he is so esteemed: the building of over 5,300 schools, as well as scholarship aid and educational resources, starting in 1913. In the era of "separate but equal," the pioneering educator's philosophy of self-help appealed to Rosenwald; indeed his school grants required matching funds and community involvement. Such famous lights as Jacob Lawrence and Charles Drew received support from the Rosenwald Foundation, but countless nameless individuals in the South also benefited from an education that might not have been available without its efforts. This straightforward narrative is substantially supported with many photographs of the period, especially of the schools and the students. Source notes, a bibliography (which could have used a few more titles for the target readership), a list of websites, an index and picture credits add to its authenticity. Clean layout and design augment a quality introduction to an important chapter in the history of American education. (Nonfiction. 10-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590788417
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 337,892
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman H. Finkelstein is the award-winning author of eighteen nonfiction books for young readers. He has won the National Jewish Book Award twice for Heeding the Call: Jewish Voices in America's Civil Rights Struggle and Forged in Freedom: Shaping the Jewish-American Experience (both Jewish Publication Society) and the Golden Kite Honor Book Award for Nonfiction for With Heroic Truth: The Life of Edward R. Murrow (Clarion Books). Three Across: The Great Transatlantic Race of 1927 was published by Calkins Creek in 2008. A resident of Framingham, Massachusetts, Finkelstein is a retired public school librarian and a longtime faculty member of Boston’s Hebrew College. Visit normfinkelstein.com.

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