The history and impact of a program to build schools for Black students in the segregated South in the early 20th century will be the focus of an address at Hope College on Friday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m. in the Great Room of the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center.
The presentation will be by Stephanie Deutsch, author of the book “‘You Need a Schoolhouse,’ Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South,” and is part of the college’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Seminar series.
The public is invited. Admission is free, and a reception will follow.
Prominent educator Booker T. Washington and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, the latter of whom was a part-owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co., created the school-building partnership in 1913. By the time it ended in 1932, it had built more than 5,000 schoolhouses, teachers’ homes and shop buildings for Black students in 15 states of the segregated South.
“The program was a unique partnership that drew funding not just from wealthy businessman Rosenwald, but from impoverished, mostly rural Black men and women willing to sacrifice to provide schools for their children,” Deutsch notes in the presentation’s description.
Deutsch will present about 25 slides showing not just the history of the program but also the effort currently underway in many places to find and restore historic Rosenwald School buildings, an effort being led by alumni of the schools. She will also discuss the outcomes for students who attended the schools and for society at large.
With her father serving in the diplomatic corps, Deutsch grew up in Arlington, Virginia; Lower Hutt, New Zealand; and Paris, France. She studied Russian language and literature in college, and subsequently earned a master’s degree in Soviet Union area studies. As she and her husband raised their children in the Washington, D.C., area, she began writing for a neighborhood newspaper, branching out to write book reviews and other articles for a variety of publications. Since “‘You Need a Schoolhouse,’ Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South” was published in 2011, she has traveled widely, sharing the story of the schools.
For 20 years she chaired the grants committee of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. She is currently active with the campaign to create a Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools National Historic Site.
Audience members who need assistance to fully enjoy any event at Hope are encouraged to contact the college’s Events and Conferences Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 616-395-7222 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Updates related to events are posted when available in the individual listings at hope.edu/calendar
Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, Hope is currently requiring that masks be worn by all individuals while indoors on campus unless in their living space or alone in their work space.
The Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center is located at 115 E. 12th St., at the center of the Hope campus between College and Columbia avenues along the former 12th Street. The Great Room is located on the south side of the building.