MICHIGAN CITY – The Sinai Temple Sisterhood will host a distinguished speaker, Dr. Peter Ascoli, on Sunday, March 11, at 2 pm at Sinai Temple, 2800 Franklin Street, Michigan City. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Baked refreshments will be available after the program.
The talk is entitled Five-Thousand Schools of Hope in the Segregated South. It will tell of the legacy of philanthropy and collaboration by Julius Rosenwald, chief partner of Sears, Roebuck, and Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee University and rural black communities to build more than 5,000 well-designed, fully equipped schools for black children in the rural segregated south during the early 20th century. The “Rosenwald schools” changed the face of education for black children during the era of Jim Crow.
Rosenwald chose to stay behind the scenes of this monumental effort. He also endowed Tuskegee University to free Booker T. Washington from fund-raising and develop the academic side of the organization.
Presenter Dr. Peter Ascoli is the grandson of Julius Rosenwald, and the author of the book, Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South, published by Indiana University Press in 2006. Ascoli retired from a career in higher education.
Rosenwald was born in 1862 and raised just a few blocks from the Abraham Lincoln residence in Springfield, Illinois during Lincoln’s presidency of the United States. The son of a clothier, he and his brother re-located to Chicago and eventually Rosenwald became President of Sears, Roebuck.
At the time of his death in 1932, Rosenwald’s net worth was $80 million. In 1917, he established the Rosenwald Fund for the “well-being of mankind.” His entire fund was spent contributing substantially to many institutions including Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, The Adler Planetarium, large apartment complexes to relieve racially segregated in Chicago and the Wabash Avenue YMCA to help blacks who made Chicago their home as they partook in the Great Migration from the South. He even gave $1000 grants to the first 100 counties in the U.S. to hire county extension agents.
“That Julius Rosenwald made deeply significant commitments to advance the lives of thousands of people is evident, but his generosity is less widely known than one would assume. It is a profound story that we want to share with as many people as possible,” says Sinai Temple’s Sisterhood’s co- presidents, Susan Barnes and Marilyn Rodman.
Dr. Ascoli’s book will be available for sale and signing.
For more information about the event, contact Judy Jacobi at 219-873-4560.
Sinai Temple is handicapped accessible.