ART + STAGE
Rosenwald Revisited by Ann Smithwick
September 19 - October 6, 2013
Ann Smithwick is a professional documentary photographer based in Memphis, Tennessee. After she and her husband moved into their home in Fayette County, Tennessee, they learned their home was a former “Rosenwald School.” Smithwick soon discovered her house previously was the Braden-Sinai School, one of more than 5,000 schoolhouses built in the South.
The schools were a collaboration between Chicago philanthropist, Julius Rosenwald, then CEO and president of Sears Roebuck and Co., and Booker T. Washington, founder and former president of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The schools were built to provide a formal building space for African-Americans around the turn of the 20th century. Before the Rosenwald schools were developed, there were few, if any, solid educational opportunities for African?Americans.
Smithwick took a 1920s Kodak camera and began documenting her neighbors who attended school at her house as well as the students of Allen-White School, a nearby Rosenwald school in Whiteville, Tennessee. Her photographs have been featured in “Rosenwald Revisited: Wisdom from the Elders,” an exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee and Southern Living magazine. The exhibit illustrates the significance of the Rosenwald Schools, as they established a foundation for African-American education in the United States. The strength of the individuals in these portraits speaks for themselves.
"Rosenwald Revisited" is proudly sponosored by Vulcan Value Partners.