ECSU Professor Bowman Discovers Forgotten History
Elizabeth City State University history professor, Dr. Glen Bowman, will talk about some of his recent research at Museum of the Albemarle, Wednesday, April 4, 12:15 p.m.
The story of Elizabeth City State University’s Rosenwald School building is becoming well known, and the planned African-American Heritage Center there is a highly anticipated project across campus and the surrounding community. But there is much more to the history of the Rosenwald School, and the contribution of the man behind the historic structure, according to ECSU professor of history, Dr. Glen Bowman.
Bowman has become the preeminent chronicler of ECSU-related history and his current research will be highlighted during a History for Lunch program at Museum of the Albemarle, Wednesday, April 4, at 12:15 p.m. Bowman will discuss “Giving Towards a Higher Cause: Julius Rosenwald’s Contribution to Elizabeth City.”
“It is becoming well known that ECSU houses a Rosenwald School, one of four that were built in Pasquotank County,” says Bowman. “It is not well known, however, that the Rosenwald Fund did more than just help build schoolhouses. My presentation at Museum of the Albemarle will cover the fund’s many other ventures across the South, and including Northeastern North Carolina. Some of these other ventures were in the field of education, but some were not.”
Rosenwald was a Sears & Roebuck executive whose donations helped build over 800 schoolhouses for African Americans in North Carolina. Some of these schools had only one room, while others had over 10 rooms. His donations which paid for only a small portion of the overall costs came after he began a friendship with Booker T. Washington.
Rosenwald started by donating to Washington’s Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The Rosenwald Fund began in 1917.
Bowman’s discovery of Rosenwald’s other ventures in the region began while doing research for his latest book project. Inside the State Archives in Raleigh, Bowman began to unearth little known information that pointed to Rosenwald’s greater contribution to life in Pasquotank County.
“The State Archives building houses extensive records from the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction,” said Bowman. “Many deal with the state’s dealings with the Rosenwald Fund, as well with other philanthropic funds such as the Jeanes Fund, the Slater Fund, The General Education Board, among many. My presentation will be based in part on some of my work in the State Archives.”
Bowman says he will also discuss a 1925 controversy in Elizabeth City involving Julius Rosenwald, and the Elizabeth City State Normal School Board of Managers chairman and infamous newspaper editor, W.O. Saunders.
The History for Lunch event is free and open to the public. Museum officials say bring a sack lunch and learn what Bowman has uncovered about ECSU and the region.