February 8, 2024

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Archives and History

Gorham Bird to Present Food For Thought Lunchtime Lecture on February 15 at 12:00 pm CT

Press Release - For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Hayley Richards

(334) 353-1881 or hayley.richards@archives.alabama.gov

FOOD FOR THOUGHT LUNCHTIME LECTURE AT THE ARCHIVES ON
 THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15 AT 12 PM
HISTORY LIVES ON: PRESERVING ALABAMA’S ROSENWALD SCHOOLS
PRESENTED BY GORHAM BIRD

Montgomery, AL (02/08/2024) – The Alabama Department of Archives & History (ADAH) will continue its 2024 Food for Thought lunchtime lecture series on Thursday, February 15, at 12 p.m. CT. Gorham Bird will present History Lives On: Preserving Alabama’s Rosenwald Schools. The program will be held in the ADAH’s Joseph M. Farley Alabama Power Auditorium in Montgomery. It will also be livestreamed on the ADAH’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Admission is FREE.

Bird, assistant professor at Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, will discuss the ADAH temporary exhibit History Lives On: Preserving Alabama’s Rosenwald Schools, which opened in 2023. In the early twentieth century, Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears Roebuck & Co., used his extensive financial resources to transform the landscape of public education in the rural, segregated South. Inspired by Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) President Booker T. Washington’s efforts to expand Black education, Rosenwald collaborated with Washington to pilot a community-matched grant program to fund the construction of six schools in central Alabama. The program was so successful that, between 1917 and 1932, nearly 5,000 additional  schools were built in fifteen southern states, including more than 400 in Alabama. Forty percent of Black children in the South attended a Rosenwald school at the height of the program. 

The new ADAH exhibit was created by the ADAH and Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design & Construction. It is the culmination of Realizing Rosenwald, an interdisciplinary research collaboration between Bird and Auburn University professors Junshan Liu (Building Science) and David Smith (Graphic Design). The project focuses on the identification and documentation of extant Rosenwald Schools in Alabama using the latest technology to digitally measure and survey the existing places. The project has continued to expand, now assisting with the physical preservation of some of Alabama’s remaining schools. 

For additional information, contact Scotty Kirkland at scotty.kirkland@archives.alabama.gov or (334) 353-9270. Food for Thought 2024 is sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Alliance and the Friends of the Alabama Archives. A complete schedule is available at archives.alabama.gov.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History is the state’s government-records repository, a special-collections library and research facility, and home to the Museum of Alabama, the state history museum. It is located in downtown Montgomery, directly across Washington Avenue from the State Capitol. The Museum of Alabama is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 to 4:30. The EBSCO Research Room is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 to 4:30. To learn more, visit www.archives.alabama.gov or call (334) 242-4364.

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