A Better Life for Their Children: Julius Rosenwald, Booker T. Washington, and the 4,978 Schools That Changed America

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$34.95  $32.15
University of Georgia Press
Publish Date
10.1 X 10.3 X 0.7 inches | 2.4 pounds

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About the Author

ANDREW FEILER, a fifth-generation Georgian, is an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured in museums, galleries, and magazines and is in a number of private collections. His photography is focused on the contemporary complexities of the American South. More of his photography can be seen at andrewfeiler.com.


A Better Life for Their Children is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the inspiring legacy of the Rosenwald schools. By presenting us with austerely beautiful photographs, revealing portraits, and carefully collected histories, Andrew Feiler captures an important chapter in the American story, one that has been in danger of being lost.--Stephanie Deutsch "author of You Need a Schoolhouse: Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald, and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South "

Andrew Feiler's photographs and stories bring us into the heart of the passion for education in black communities: the passion of teachers who taught multiple grades and dozens of students in a single classroom; the passion of parents and neighbors who helped to raise the money to build our schools and then each year continued to reach deep to purchase school supplies; the
passion of students like me who craved learning, worked hard, and read as many books as we could put our hands on.

--Congressman John Lewis
Andrew Feiler's crisp and sumptuous images of those schools and their prominent alumni, as they are now, provide us precisely what those teachers provided their students: the opportunity and the inspiration to imagine the excitement that rippled when young intellects connected, when fear flew away, when self-respect filled the void. Through Feiler's eyes and his words, we can see all the good that has come from the resistance that was nurtured inside these community wombs.--Hank Klibanoff, coauthor of The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History; and host of Buried Truths, winner of the Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy Awards
In luminous images and touching testimony from many who were rescued by education and aspiration from the worst of southern white racism, Andrew Feiler has captured the story of what may have been the most important campaign of personal philanthropy in twentieth-century America--an astounding effort that brought literacy and learning to hundreds of thousands of black children in the darkest days of Jim Crow segregation. A Better Life is also a revelatory window into the origins of the Jewish and African American partnership that for decades has advanced the struggle for civil rights in the United States.--Douglas A. Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Andrew Feiler's photographs preserve an essential civil rights history with the inspiring story of the Rosenwald schools. And this history continued through the descendants of the schools and their creators, including the late John Lewis, Medgar Evers, and Maya Angelou. At a time when racial inequity in education remains a scourge, Feiler's book provides context and hope.--Jill Savitt, President and CEO, National Center for Civil and Human Rights