“He did not have to care about black people, but he did.”
Q&A with Sandra McIver after screening
The son of an immigrant, Julius Rosenwald rose to become the president of Sears. Influenced by the writings of Booker T. Washington, he joined forces with African American communities during the Jim Crow era to build over 5,300 schools in the early 20th century. Rosenwald also built YMCAs and housing for African Americans to address the pressing needs of the Great Migration. Inspired by the Jewish ideals of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world), as well as deep concern over racial inequality, Rosenwald used his wealth to become one of America’s most effective philanthropists. All told, he gave away $62 million in his lifetime. Rosenwald sheds light on this little-known philanthropist and some of the future leaders whose lives he impacted, including Maya Angelou, John Lewis, Woody Guthrie, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes.