Rosenwald Project

African-Americans and Education: The Rosenwald School Legacy

African Americans and Education:
The Rosenwald School Legacy

Friday, April 10, 2015
9 a.m. - 3 p.m., UNCW Watson College of Education

Click here for Conference Agenda (.pdf)

Keynote Speaker - Carole Boston Weatherford

New York Times best-selling author Carole Boston      Weatherford has 46 books to her credit. Her books have won the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award, NAACP Image Award, Carter G. Woodson Award from National Council for the Social Studies, the Jefferson Cup, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and two North Carolina Juvenile Literature Awards. Her books for children include Dear Mr. Rosenwald, Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom; Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People; Birmingham, 1963; and Becoming Billie HolidayHer latest releases are Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century and Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America. The recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature and two North Carolina Arts Council Fellowships, Carole teaches at Fayetteville State University.

Breakout Session Facilitators

Claudia Stack

Claudia Stack (M.Ed.) is an educator and filmmaker who has been working on the documentation and preservation of historic African American schools since 2003.  Her documentary about Rosenwald schools in Pender County, NC "Under the Kudzu" won the 2012 Cape Fear Independent Film Festival's Director's Choice award and has been screened at many venues, including the inaugeral National Trust for Historic Prevservation (NTHP) Rosenwald School conference held at Tuskegee University.  Her most recent film, "Carrie Mae: An American Life" will screen at the 2015 NTHP Rosenwald School conference to be held in Durham, NC in June 2015.

Glen Harris

Glen Anthony Harris received his Ph.D. from Florida State University in 2003. He has taught at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Florida A&M University before joining UNCW's history department in 2002.

He is the author of The Ocean Hill-Brownsville Conflict: Intellectual Struggles between Blacks and Jews at Mid-Century, (Lexington Books, 2012) which examines the role that certain black and Jewish writers and intellectuals played in the characterization of black-Jewish relations in relation to the 1968 school conflict.

In addition, Dr. Harris has authored the following: “Franz Boas, Race Theory, and Black and Jewish Race Relations During the First Decades of the Twentieth Century” American Jewish Archives Volume 59, Number 3 (January 2008); “Ishmael Reed and the Postmodern Slave Narrative.” Comparative American Studies: An International Journal Volume 5, Number 4: 459-479; and the co-author of “Guess Who’s Coming to the Dinner: A Clash of Interpretations Regarding the 1967 Stanley Kramer Film About Interracial Marriage”: Journal of Popular Culture, Volume 40, Number 4: 700-713.

Mr. Harris has received numerous awards and fellowships including: the Library Resident Research Fellowship at The American Philosophical Society, Rabbi Joachim Prinz Memorial Fellowship at The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and the Charles L. Cahill Award at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Dr. Harris offers courses in African American History, United States History, The Harlem Renaissance, United States Since 1945, the Civil Rights Movement, and Hollywood and Black Film.

Donyell Roseboro

Donyell L. Roseboro is the daughter of a teacher and machine operator and the granddaughter of farmers, all of whom grappled with what it means to be Black in America. Her research and writing are shaped by these worldviews. She holds a BA in secondary education from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, an MA in history from Wake Forest University, and a Ph. D. in cultural studies and curriculum from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She currently is Chair and associate professor in the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations, and Secondary Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She has 24 publications including recent articles entitled, “To Virgo or Not To Virgo”: Examining the Closure and Reopening of a Neighborhood School in a Predominantly African American Community. Equity & Excellence in Education (with Candace Thompson), Teacher candidates’ practice: Coming to consciousness and developing conscience. Teaching and Learning: The Journal of Natural Inquiry and Reflective Practice (with Michele Parker, Robert Smith, and Scott Imig), and Care-sickness: Black Women Educators, Care Theory and a Hermeneutic of Suspicion, Educational Foundations (with Sabrina Ross). In addition, she has an edited volume with Dennis Carlson entitled The Sexuality Curriculum: Youth Culture, Popular Culture, and Democratic Sexuality Education and a recent book chapter entitled Mediated Youth, Curriculum, & Cyberspace: Pivoting the In-Between. She lives in Wilmington with her husband Bratis and twin eight year old daughters, Maya and Ciera.

Felicia Brown

Felicia Brown is the Chief Officer for Human Resources and Leadership Development for Duplin County Public Schools.  In 1997, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Middle Grades Education from North Carolina Central University. She started her career as seventh grade teacher in Pender County before moving to Wayne County.  After several years in the classroom, Felicia was asked to embark upon a new area of education as a curriculum facilitator.  

Upon completing her eighth year in education, Mrs. Brown pursued her Master’s of School Administration as a Principal Fellow at North Carolina State University. After graduating, Mrs. Brown was hired as an assistant principal at Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary School in Duplin County where she later became principal. Felicia later served Duplin County Schools as the principal of Duplin Early College High School prior to serving in her current role.  Mrs. Brown was named Duplin County School’s Principal of the Year in 2011-12.

Her love for teaching and learning compelled her to begin her current journey as an educational leadership doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  Felicia resides in Wayne County, N.C., near one of the historic sites of a Julius Rosenwald’s School, with her husband Joseph and sons, Hunter (7) and Blake (4).  

George Edwards

George Edwards

George W. Edwards joined the Historic Wilmington Foundation as their 6th Executive Director in November of 2004.  Edwards is a professional preservationist with more than 29 years of experience in managing local and statewide nonprofit preservation and downtown revitalization groups.  He directed Main Street and economic redevelopment programs in Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Virginia.  In addition to these experiences, Edwards served as the chief executive for the Atlanta Preservation Center, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, and the Preservation Alliance of Virginia.

 The Historic Wilmington Foundation is a non-profit historic preservation organization with more than 750 members that focuses its efforts on preserving the architectural heritage of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region. Since its formation in 1966, the Historic Wilmington Foundation has successfully saved more than a 100 historic properties from demolition.  Their mission is to protect and preserve the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear Region through educational programs, workshops, advocacy and community involvement, a preservation easement program and revolving fund activities.  Edwards has initiated an annual most threatened historic places program with HWF, which also includes a traveling exhibit seen annually by more than 40,000 people.  He also has created a partnership with the New Hanover County schools that trains and provides guides for the third graders’ Tar Heels Go Walking program which recently completed its sixth year of leading students on tour of downtown.  The tours have introduced 14,400 third grade students, 300 teachers and 1100 parent volunteers to our history, architectural and cultural resources.  

In addition to an undergraduate degree in history West Georgia College, Edwards has earned two masters degrees, one in educational administration and counseling from West Georgia College, and the other in heritage preservation from Georgia State University.  He also acquired a graduate certificate in contemporary planning from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.  He has completed graduate course work in history, law, preservation methods, real estate, architectural history, and planning.  Edwards is a member of Sigma Pi Kappa, international preservation honorary society. 

Edwards serves on the board of the Old Baldy Foundation and on the planning committee of Wilmington Downtown, Inc (WDI).    Edwards was appointed to the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee in 2013 and was just repointed for another two year.    Previously, he served two terms on the board of WDI and he volunteered for the Wilmington YMCA’s We Serve People annual fundraising campaign for three years.  

Featured Films

Carrie Mae: An American Life
Produced by Claudia Stack

Carrie Mae: An American Life" (2014, 60 min.) is the story of Carrie Mae Sharpless Newkirk, born in 1923 in Duplin County,  one of fifteen children in a sharecropping family. She attended the Chinquapin Colored School, a Rosenwald school, and dreamed of becoming a teacher. She thought her dream was impossible after her father died when she was in high school. However, her principal obtained a work scholarship for her to attend Kittrell College. From there, she went on to earn her degree from Elizabeth City State Teachers' College.  Carrie Mae taught in Pender County's segregated schools, then in 1966 she went on to become one of the first African American teachers to integrate a white faculty. Her life reflects the major shifts in southern education from the 1920s to the 1970s, as well as her 40+ year commitment to service through teaching. As she often said, "Children know when you love them." This film is made possible in part by the generous support of the Middle Road Foundation.

Produced and directed by
UNCW Professor Emeritus Maurice M. Martinez, Ph.D.

This documentary is the true story of an African American woman, Ms. Irene Wallace from impoverished rural Pender County, North Carolina.  As a young girl, Irene had to walk three miles to attend a one-room school house (built with funding from Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald).  Inspired by articles she read in EBONY magazine, Irene graduated from a Historic Black College with a degree in business-education.  She worked in the Federal Government Service and rose in the ranks to a General Manager of electronic systems for the U.S. Navy.  Upon retirement, Irene served as a member of the Burgaw Pender County School Board.

The second part to this documentary, tells of the racist burning of Antioch Church, Irene’s Black Church, on Martin Luther King’s birthday.  Among the many volunteer communities and individuals who helped to rebuild Antioch Church depicted in this film were a group of Harvard University students who, rather than spend their Spring Break on the beaches of Florida, came to Irene’s aid and worked to rebuild her Church. 

Irene is an inspiration to youth, and a role model.  At the end of the film, Irene shares some advice and words of wisdom that contributed to her success in America.