The opening of the Rosenwald School Exhibit at the Stanly County museum embodied the goals set forth by Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald nearly one hundred years ago. Rosenwald set up his fund as a way to improve the education amongst the black citizenry, and another goal of this effort along with Booker T. Washington was to increase engagement and mutuality amongst the white and black communities. Rosenwald designed the fund to be matched within the community of the South, which raised over $4.4 million dollars worth of funds. When building these schools the black and white communities of the South began to interact and comingle towards a common goal. I saw many of the same things today both at the talk and at the exhibit opening.
It seemed that both this exhibit and the talk acted as a way to strive for a common goal, that of a mutuality amongst various subsets of the Stanly County population. Both at the speech and at the exhibit there was a desire for a sense of exploring our shared past and further explicating the story of the Rosenwald Schools and the significance that these schools played in the community. Julie and the museum volunteers have worked hard to compile images, articles and other information about the schools both within the broad regional context and the local history of the county. However, much more needs to be done and community engagement will only help with the cataloguing of the town’s past, adding to the museum’s African American collection.
As well, I saw an inherent desire to save the town’s last remaining Rosenwald School in New London. It is important to not only be aware of the town’s history but also preserve remnants of the town’s past that embody this story. I think that this will be an important part for preserving the county’s authentic cultural heritage.
The exhibit will run through mid-April. Our hours during this exhibit are
Wed. – Fri. 10-5 and the first Sat. each month 9-2. Additionally, we will be open every Sat. 9-2 through the end of February.
Please visit our website resources on the Rosenwald Schools and the Kingville Community.
Read the article published in the Stanly News and Press.