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Descendants of Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald to Speak

(From left) Kenneth Morris, Stephanie Deutsch adn Peter Ascoli

On Sunday, October 2, the Rosenwald Collaborative and Mars Hill University are presenting a panel from 3–4:30 p.m. at Broyhill Chapel. Kenneth Morris, Peter Ascoli and Stephanie Deutsch will appear together to share memories and knowledge of their ancestors.

All of the speakers have a connection to either Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee Institute, or Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, and Company. Rosenwald and Washington partnered in the early 1900s to build almost 6,000 elementary schools in the south for children of color. One of these schools is located in the Long Ridge community, and is known as the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School (MHARS).

Fall 2021. Photo by Ryan Phillips/Ryan Phillips Media

Morris is the great great grandson of Washington and also a descendant of Frederick Douglass. He is also co-founder and president of the Rochester, NY-based nonprofit Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI), which works β€œto build strong children and to end systems of exploitation and oppression.” Deutsch is a descendent of Rosenwald via marriage and the author of You Need a Schoolhouse: Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald, and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South. Ascoli is the grandson of Rosenwald and the author of Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears,Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South.

Through events like this speaker’s panel, the Rosenwald Collaborative is working to bring awareness to Western North Carolina communities of the dynamic history between Rosenwald and Washington and the results of their joint venture.

Broyhill Chapel is located on the campus of Mars Hill University at 388 Cascade Street, Mars Hill. For details about this event and to RSVP, please visit:


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