On February 20, 2013, we hopped in the van and through Tuskegee, Alabama to Notasulga, where we visited the Shiloh Rosenwald School. At the school, we were met by four graduates of the school including the Vice Chair of the board of the Foundation, Felicia. The other women were her older sister, and their identical twin cousins. As we sat down, they spoke about their experiences at the school.
The school was founded by Booker T. Washington and the former CEO of Sears, Julius Rosenwald, who also happened to be the son of German Jews. It was formed in hopes of educating Black children on how to succeed in the real world despite the obstacles they would all face as African Americans in the South. The teachers preached to their students that as long as you have a unique talent, you can be successful; a lesson that all of us can apply in our own lives.
Among the highlights for me was when one of the twins described how the students were taught to make the items they lacked but deemed important. For example, she showed us how they made cups and fans that kept them cool and hydrated in the summer months.
I think I speak for everyone when I say the warmth and graciousness the women showed towards us left a lasting impression of the southern hospitality down here. None of us left without receiving a hug and an “I love you guys” from each of the women. Overall, it was a great experience both on the educational and emotional levels.