Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Rosenwald 

Wednesday, Sep 9 2015
Comments

Aviva Kempner's documentaryRosenwaldlooks at the life and philanthropy of Julius Rosenwald. A co-owner of Sears, Roebuck & Co., he donated tens of millions of dollars toward building schools for African-Americans, and provided grants to artists. The son of Jewish immigrants, he recognized the treatment of black people in the South at the hands of the KKK and institutionalized racism was much like what happened to his own people back in Europe during the pogroms. (Let that sink in for a moment: a millionaire industrialist expressing empathy for underprivileged people of another ethnicity.) There are interesting stories that can be expanded upon, particularly the cultural impact of the Sears catalog on rural people, but the picture is ultimately less about Rosenwald and more about early-to-mid 20th-century African-American life, and how he did what he could to improve it.Rosenwalddoes veer into hagiography, and there's a sense his darker moments are glossed over — nobody becomes that rich without doing some bad things along the way — but the good works he did should be celebrated, and they're all the more meaningful now that the Voting Rights Act is under attack. The struggle hasn't ended.

Tags:

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Comments


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"