Online Friday Noon Study Group

February 14, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Online Friday Noon Study Group

Friday, September 17, 12-1

We began last week’s discussion of the second half of Chapter 4 of Hasia Diner’s, Julius Rosenwald: Repairing the World with a consideration of Rosenwald’s attitudes towards African-American leader W.E.B. Dubois and his notion of the “Talented Tenth.”  This concept called for a leadership class of African Americans (the one in ten Black men who have acquired a college education and who could become directly involved in social change).  Our group discussed the potential charges of elitism that might emerge from such a concept, and whether its implementation was mutually exclusive from Booker T. Washington’s promotion of industrial education, or the education provided for by the Rosenwald schools.

Other topics for discussion last week included

  • Rosenwald’s support for African American enterprises beyond the Rosenwald schools (e.g. Howard University’s Law School, Medical schools at Howard and the University of Michigan, other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Rosenwald Fellowships)

  • The burdens placed on Blacks to become exemplary representatives of their race (whites who failed didn’t stigmatize their group) and how these burdens went beyond those placed on other minorities

  • Rosenwald’s acceptance of segregation/”separate but equal” policies (he financed Jim Crow institutions, didn’t engage in anti-lynching or voting rights campaigns, his philanthropy “skirted civil rights”).  Participants were quick to defend Rosenwald by pointing out the time period/law of the land during which Rosenwald lived; the fact that he devoted his money, time, and energy based on his knowledge and experience as a businessman rather than a philosopher or politician; and the fact that segregated learning/socializing has some advantages.

This Friday we’ll complete our discussion of our current subject by addressing loose ends from Chapter 4 (especially a continuation of the charges that Rosenwald’s philanthropy aided the establishment of a color line) and Diner’s “Conclusion: Forgetting Julius Rosenwald” (pp. 211-218).  We will also consider a counterpoint to Diner’s adulation of Rosenwald with a discussion of a 2017 article entitled “Julius Rosenwald Was Not A Hero,” in which Maribel Morey reflects on the distinction between an effective philanthropist and a heroic figure.  That article can be found at the following link: 

Our informal discussion group meets online via Zoom every Friday from 12 – 1.   All are welcome to join our discussions, regardless of their level of expertise.  If you have questions, please contact Jay Jacoby at

Please Note that the Friday Noon Study Group will not meet on September 24th or October 1st.  

We will resume our discussions on October 8 when we begin an exploration of The Book of Genesis.  Stay tuned for details. 


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