UNCW Conference Focuses on African American Education and the Legacy of Rosenwald Schools

Canetuck Rosenwald School. Photo credit: Under the Kudzu

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wilmington, N.C. - The Rosenwald School building program, started in 1912 as a partnership between Booker T. Washington and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, is recognized as “one of the most important partnerships to advance African American education in the early 20th century,” according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Several of these schools were built in Southeastern North Carolina, and UNCW plans to explore their history during “African Americans and Education: The Rosenwald School Legacy Conference.” The event is scheduled 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Friday, March 22, at the Education Building.

The conference will specifically focus on Williston High School, formerly a segregated school for African Americans in New Hanover County. The sponsors are the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the Upperman African American Cultural Center, the Department of History and the Watson College of Education.

This conference is a follow-up to prior conferences held at UNCW in 2009 and 2011, both of which brought together historians, educators, librarians, and community members to discuss the Rosenwald school legacy in the southeastern United States.

The 2013 speakers are:

John H. Haley, a graduate of a Rosenwald high school in Warrenton, Va., and former faculty member at UNCW and Eastern Illinois University. His areas of specialty are U.S. race relations, African American history, the American South, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and U.S. military history. He is the author of “Charles N. Hunter and Race Relations in North Carolina” as well as an article included in “Democracy Betrayed,” both published by UNC Press. He is the recipient of a teaching excellence award from UNCW and a faculty excellence award from Eastern Illinois. In 2008, he received the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association’s Christopher Crittenden Award for Significant Contributions to the History of North Carolina.

Stephanie Deutsch, chairman of the grants committee of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, has written numerous articles and book reviews for the New York Times, the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard, Philanthropy Magazine and the Millions blog. She is the author of “You Need a Schoolhouse, Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South,” published by Northwestern University Press.

Claudia Stack, an exceptional education teacher at Williston Middle School, has more than 20 years of experience in education. Stack has been documenting historic African American schools in our region for ten years. In 2009, she organized the inaugural UNCW Rosenwald School conference. In 2012, her film "Under the Kudzu," which documents the history of two Pender County Rosenwald Schools, won the Director's Choice Award at the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival.

Media Contact: Tara Romanella, Office of University Relations, romanellat@uncw.edu, 910-962-3616.