Tuskegee Airmen WWII Biplane Found By Accident

May 18th, 2015

Airforce Captain Matt Quy and his wife Tina decided to rebuilt an old crop duster aircraft, which, unbeknownst to them, had been used to train Tuskegee Airmen.  The couple were told the unexpected news when they sent the serial number to an Air Force historian.  The Tuskegee Airmen were America’s first black squadrons who gained fame during World War II.  To see the video from 60 Minutes, click here.  To find out more about the Tuskegee Airmen, don’t forget to see Rosenwald when it hits theaters later this summer.  There is a great story about the building of the airfield in the film.

Rosenwald Shown at the National Center for Jewish Film’s JEWISHFILM.2015

May 18th, 2015

We are happy to report that the screening of Rosenwald at the National Center for Jewish Film’s JEWISHFILM.2015 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston went off without a hitch!  It was a full house, with some members of Julius Rosenwald’s family in attendance.  Peter Ascoli, biographer and grandson of Julius Rosenwald, and director Aviva Kempner spoke after the film.  The audience members had wonderful responses, one of whom said it was the best documentary he had ever seen. The Museum currently has an exhibit on Gordon Parks, including shots of overcrowding in Chicago, which is a theme in the film.  Rosenwald will open in New York on August 14 at the Sunshine Cinema.

Julius Rosenwald Was Benefactor for Samuel Reshevsky, Famous Child Chess Prodigy

May 15th, 2015

Samuel Reshevsky, the famous Polish child chess prodigy, learned to play at age 4.  By age 8, he was playing numerous opponents at once and easily beating experts.  When his family came to the United States, his parents never registered him for school, and they were eventually taken to court over it.  Julius Rosenwald became his benefactor, and would provide his livelihood on the condition that he would complete his education.  Reshevsky gave up competitive chess for seven years and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1934.  He never went on to become a fully professional chess player, but he became an international grandmaster.

Read more about it at Jewish Currents here.  To learn more about Julius Rosenwald, don’t forget to see Rosenwald when it hits theaters later this summer.

Rosenwald Headed to Theaters Soon

May 7th, 2015

Summer is almost here, which means soon Rosenwald will be playing at theaters all over the country!  We are excited to announce that the big opening day is August 14th in New York City.  See below for the full list to find out if Rosenwald will be playing in a theater near you.  More theaters will be announced in the future.



Sunshine Cinema

143 E. Houston St.

New York, NY 10002



Ritz 5

214 Walnut St.

Philadelphia, PA 19106



Avalon Theatre

5612 Connecticut Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20015


Kendall Square Cinema 9

One Kendall Square, 355 Binney St.

Cambridge, MA


Laemmle Royal

11523 Santa Monica Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90025


Regency South Coast Village

1561 West Sunflower Avenue

Santa Ana, CA 92704


Town Center 5

17200 Ventura Blvd. #121

Encino, CA 91316





Camelot Theatres

2300 E. Baristo Rd.

Palm Springs, CA 92262



Opera Plaza

601 Van Ness Ave.

San Francisco, CA 94102


Shattuck Cinemas

2230 Shattuck Ave.

Berkeley, CA 94704



Midtown Art Cinema

931 Monroe Dr. NE C212

Atlanta, GA 30308


Edina Cinema

3911 West 50th St.

Edina, MN 55424



Center for Contemporary Arts

1050 Old Pecos Trail

Santa Fe, NM 87505

“Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection” Exhibit Opening at The National Museum of American History

May 7th, 2015

On Friday, May 8, The National Museum of American History will open the exhibit “Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection.”  It is a smaller version of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is aiming for a 2016 opening.  Sections in the exhibit include African American history, African American culture, and African Americans in the military.  It was around the time that African American soldiers were returning from World War I that Julius Rosenwald began building schools all over the South in partnership with African American communities for their children.  A desk from one of the Rosenwald schools and photos are on display in the exhibit.  The exhibit also includes works by Jacob Lawrence, who received a Rosenwald grant for his Great Migration series.

​Photo Credit: A’lelia Bundles

To read more about the exhibit, click here.  To learn more about the story of the Rosenwald schools, don’t forget to see Rosenwald when it hits theaters later this summer.  One of the creators of the exhibit, Jackie Serwer, is interviewed in the film.

Rosenwald’s Nashville Film Festival Award

May 5th, 2015

Exciting news! After Rosenwald’s Tennessee premiere at the Nashville Film Festival in mid-April, it won the Lipscomb University Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

This award is given to one film each year that the jury feels addresses religion and spirituality in the most inclusive and high-quality way.

Congratulations to the memory of Julius Rosenwald and his following of the Jewish teachings of “repairing the world”. See Rosenwald’s award here: https://nashvillefilmfestival.org/feature-award-winners-2/, as well as the list of the other winning films.

Last year, the Lipscomb University Prize of the Ecumenical Jury award was given to the Polish film IDA, and it went on to win the Oscar for best foreign film.

Lipscomb University Associate Professor Ted Parks wrote that “in Rosenwald , filmmaker Aviva Kempner documents the compelling story of a leader generously and courageously devoting his financial resources to improve the plight of pre-Civil Rights African Americans, with his compassion and yearning for justice grounded firmly in his faith tradition.”

Lincoln and the Jews

May 4th, 2015

In Jonathan D. Sarna’s new book, “Lincoln and the Jews: A History,” he details Abraham Lincoln’s involvement with Jewish people and the role he played in making them equal in America.  When Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois in 1837, he made his first contact with Jewish people, who were his neighbors, clients, and political allies.  Julius Hammerslough, the uncle of Julius Rosenwald whom he was named after, was one of Lincoln’s first Jewish friends.  He was there when Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861 and often visited him in the White House.  After Lincoln’s death, Hammerslough was one of the people who met Lincoln’s body in Springfield.  He also provided black plumes at Lincoln’s funeral.

To read more about Lincoln and his Jewish friends at The Forward, click here.  To learn more about Julius Rosenwald’s uncle Julius Hammerslough, be sure to see Rosenwald when it hits theaters later this summer.

Recording of Missing Verse Found from Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land”

May 4th, 2015

Jeff Place, curator and senior archivist of the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, researches, organizes, and releases the recordings in the Rinzler archives, which “includes the 12 record labels now collectively known as Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.”  The Folkways acquisition featured works from Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Lead Belly.  Place found Woody Guthrie’s recording of a missing verse from “This Land Is Your Land” that had previously been thought to have never been recorded.  He was so excited about his finding, he ran out of his office to tell his co-workers, forgetting that it was a Friday night and no one was there.  The verse, which had previously been scribbled on paper, contains the lyrics:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me

Sign was painted, it said private property

But on the back side it didn’t say nothing

This land was made for you and me.

Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land” is featured in Rosenwald, in theaters this summer.  To read more about Jeff Place in The Washington Post, click here.

Roy DeBerry, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Hill Country Project, Attended a Rosenwald School

May 4th, 2015

When Roy DeBerry was 9 years old, he began attending a Rosenwald school in Holly Springs, Mississippi.  The Rosenwald school had “running water, electricity, and more than one teacher,” something lacking at his old school.  While he was a student there, a Freedom School came to his town, which allowed students to learn about topics that were not allowed to be taught at segregated school.  These topics included political activism, constitutional rights, and the work of Booker T. Washington and Langston Hughes.

To read more about DeBerry’s experience in Brandeis Magazine, click here.  To learn more about the Rosenwald schools, check out Rosenwald when it hits theaters later this summer.  The film is being shown during Brandeis University’s National Center for Jewish Film’s JEWISHFILM.2015 on May 13, 7:30 PM, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  They are the non-theatrical distributors of all of Aviva Kempner’s past films.

“Rosenwald” Gets Shout Out on The New York Times Summer Movie List

May 4th, 2015

Since the theatrical release of Rosenwald is quickly approaching, the film got a shout out on The New York Times summer movie list!  We are excited to see the film being recognized and cannot wait for the official release.  Here is the snippet from the Times:

Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) was a high school dropout who became chief executive of Sears, Roebuck. He also directed an enormous amount of philanthropy toward African-American causes. This documentary, from Aviva Kempner, includes interviews with Maya Angelou, Julian Bond and George C. Wolfe.
To see the full Summer Movie List, click here, and don’t forget to check out Rosenwald when it hits theaters later this summer.