Synopses & Reviews
In early twentieth-century America, at a time of rampant segregation, one man made it possible for African American children in the South to receive a quality education. Julius Rosenwald was not only the wealthy president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, but one of America’s greatest philanthropists. Through his friendship with Booker T. Washington, Rosenwald discovered that southern black schools suffered from inadequately trained teachers, dilapidated buildings, and a lack of books and supplies. Adhering to Washington’s self-help philosophy, Rosenwald began funding the building of schools throughout the deep South with one major stipulation—each community had to raise enough money to match his gift. By 1932, over 5,300 Rosenwald schools served a quarter of all black children in the South. Rosenwald’s legacy lives on through Rosenwald school graduates, their children, and grandchildren.
andquot;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 and 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,and#160;their successes, and how the legacy of the Rosenwald schools lives on. The archival photographs are particularly well chosen and often moving. . .andquot; --Booklistand#160;
andquot; . . . 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.andquot; --Kirkus Reviews
andquot;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. . . andquot; --School Library Journal
andquot;. . . This work delves more deeply into Rosenwaldand#39;s other charitable work and ably contextualizes the school-building program within the andquot;separate but equalandquot; social mandate that was then the law of the land. Plenty of black and white photos and architectural plans provide a vivid picture of the before-and-after state of post--Civil War black schools, and they also bring readers up to date on current preservation efforts. Index, citations, and print and online sources are included.andquot; --The Bulletin of the Center for Childrenand#39;s Books
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 mans legacy and the power of community action. Includes quotations, a detailed bibliography, and index.
About 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.