UNCW Conference to Explore Lasting Impact of Rosenwald Schools on African American Education

by April 22, 2011

Wilmington, N.C. – While Rosenwald Schools left a legacy of reading, writing and arithmetic for African-American children, their impact can perhaps best be measured by the numbers: 4,977 schools, 217 homes for teachers, and 163 shop buildings constructed in 15 states, all used to educate more than 650,000 students. Add to that a lifetime of hard work and dedication from countless teachers and other supporters and you have a sense of how the Rosenwald initiative improved the education of African American schoolchildren in the Southeastern U.S.

The educational and cultural contributions of Rosenwald Schools will be remembered during African Americans and Education: The Rosenwald School Legacy conference, to be held April 28-30 at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. A follow up to an initial Rosenwald School History Awareness conference held in 2009, this year’s conference will focus on raising awareness of Rosenwald School history, preserving the history of African Americans and education and examining current issues facing African American students in public schools.

"This conference is about history, learning and hope for African Americans who want the world to know how important education has been–and still is– to them," said Donyell Roseboro, assistant professor in the Watson School of Education and conference coordinator. "We hope it will bring people together who are united in one common goal, to improve the educational experiences of all children."

Conference highlights:
• Thursday, April 28 at 5 p.m. premiere of Claudia Stack’ s documentary film on Rosenwald Schools, in Morton Hall, room 100. A question and answer session with Stack will follow the film showing.
• Friday, April 29 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Morning keynote speaker Anthony Parent, professor of history at Wake Forest University, will speak about African Americans and education in the 18th century in the Watson School of Education Building, room 162. Luncheon Keynote speaker Phillip J. Merrill, former appraiser with the PBS television show Antiques Roadshow, will speak about preserving African American material and cultural history.
• Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. – noon field trip to a restored Rosenwald School in Pender County. The cost of the field trip is $10; transportation will be provided.

Other Friday speakers include:
• George Edwards, executive director of Historic Wilmington Foundation, who will discuss the history of Rosenwald Schools in Southeastern N.C. and current preservation efforts
• Carrie Newkirk, former Rosenwald School student
• James Faison, former director of industrial education at Williston High School

A panel discussion on current educational issues facing African American students and families will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Panelists include:
• Elizabeth Redenbaugh, New Hanover County School board member
• Pamela Baldwin, principal of Hoggard High School
• Frankie Roberts, director of LINC, Inc.
• Timothy Nathaniel French, director, Magnolia Scholars Program, Wake Forest University

To register online for the conference visit: www.uncw.edu/rosenwald or call 910.962.3195. Registration for the conference is $15.

The conference is sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the Upperman African American Cultural Center, the Department of History and the Watson School of Education.

For more information about the conference visit: www.uncw.edu/ed/rosenwald

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