My book You Need a Schoolhouse, Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South, was published in 2011 by Northwestern University Press. It is available in bookstores nationwide and in hardback, paperback, and electronic editions on Amazon.com.
I was initially attracted to this subject for family reasons; my husband is a great-grandson of Julius Rosenwald but knew little about his remarkable forebear. I became interested in Rosenwald’s career and when that led me to the story of his partnership with Booker T. Washington I began to realize how little I knew about the times in which both men lived and, in particular, about conditions surrounding the creation of the Rosenwald schools. As the daughter of a Foreign Service officer I had spent part of my childhood in New Zealand and had gone to high school at a French lycée. In college I had studied Russian and Soviet Studies. But the issues that Rosenwald and Washington grappled with one hundred years ago — race relations, education, community, opportunity — have more resonance for me now than the foreign subjects I studied in school. We and our children and grandchildren need to know our country’s history in order to understand the present.
I was born in Washington, D.C. and have lived on Capitol Hill for forty years. I raised my children here and have participated in the community in many ways, the most important being as chairman of the grants committee of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which annually gives away over $200,000 in small grants. My husband, David Deutsch, a retired television director, has joined me on many rambles related to my research on Rosenwald and Washington and has been a wonderful photographer, IT guy, driver and companion. He took this picture of me several summers ago at Castalia Rosenwald School in North Carolina. (Our name is pronounced DOITCH).
I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned from this research, especially with elementary, middle and high school students and also with Rosenwald alumni groups.