SC State University’s I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium Presents Symposium

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SC State’s University’s I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium (The Stanback) is excited to present the symposium: “The Unique Rosenwald Schools Contribution to American Education,” on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. in The Stanback.

The keynote address will be presented by Bishop Frederick Calhoun James, minister of the African-American Episcopal Church in Columbia, S.C. The Jarvis Brothers, a local Orangeburg, S.C. quintet, will also perform. The Symposium compliments The Stanback’s current exhibition, “Remembering the Rosenwald Schools,” whichis on display in its Clemmie E. Webber Educator Resource Center until July 1, 2010.

Bishop James, an ecumenical theologian, activist for Civil Rights and social justice, a political leader and public servant, was born in Prosperity, S.C. As a champion of the civil rights movement, he worked with and developed a personal relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was South Carolina's first African-American Congressional District member of the Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and the Department of Social Services. In 1972, he was elected to the AME Bishopric, and served as presiding bishop in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and Mozambique. He later served in Arkansas and Oklahoma and the 7th Episcopal District in S.C. (1984). During his assignment in Arkansas, he formed a friendship with then attorney Bill Clinton, which led to his later appointments to the White House Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s).  As a result of their friendship, President Clinton selected Bishop James as an official member of the delegation to attend the 1994 Inauguration of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.   In 1998, he accompanied the Clintons to South Africa on an official visit. 

In 2003, Bishop James was awarded the state's highest honor, The Order of the Palmetto, for his significant contributions. Today, he remains active in the preservation of his humble beginnings, the restoration of the Howard Jr. High Rosenwald School. He is also a committed member of many service oriented organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. 

The exhibition, “Remembering the Rosenwald Schools,” highlights the partnership to build model schools and improve the quality of education for African-American children during the Jim Crow Era.  It celebrates two Twentieth Century Masters - Julius Rosenwald, son of a Jewish immigrant and Booker T. Washington, a former slave. This exhibition features photographs, historical documentation, and artifacts from former Rosenwald schools, students and teachers in South Carolina.  This exhibition, which includes a display created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, funded by the South Carolina Council on the Humanities, tells the story of a remarkable partnership to build model schools and improve the quality of education for African-American children during the Jim Crow era in the South.

Examining Rosenwald’s philanthropy efforts, Washington turned to Rosenwald for financing a project, which funded nearly 5,000 schools and auxiliary buildings in 15 southern states, and served over 660,000 students.  By requiring African-American communities to raise matching funds, the two men inspired a grassroots movement that has been called the "most influential philanthropic force that came to the aid of African-Americans at that time." This partnership led to the creation of the Julius Rosenwald Fund which eventually contributed over 28 million dollars for schools built by and for African-Americans between 1912 and 1932. The Rosenwald project contributed to the construction of approximately 500 Rosenwald schools and auxiliary buildings in South Carolina, 21 in Orangeburg County. 

Today, many of these Rosenwald school buildings are no longer standing. In 2002, to heighten awareness of the threats to these historic resources, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Rosenwald Schools to its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Since then, the National Trust for Historic Preservation formed the Rosenwald Schools Initiative, organizing a team to develop a plan for the preservation of Rosenwald schools. Through this initiative, the National Trust has established a national network of Rosenwald School preservation activists, developed educational tools, and provided funding opportunities to aid those interested in saving these important buildings.

For additional information about the symposium, contact the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium at (803) 536-7174.