fbpx Rosenwald | Gene Siskel Film Center
Film Series: Runs & Limited Engagements


2015, Aviva Kempner, USA, 96 min.


The 6 PM screening is a Movie Club event. Join us for a post-screening conversation and a complimentary cocktail at Virgin Hotels Chicago, 203 N. Wabash. Movie ticket required for entry.

Show Times

  • Sat, Jan 2nd 2:00pm
  • Sun, Jan 3rd 4:30pm
  • Mon, Jan 4th 6:00pm
  • Tue, Jan 5th 7:45pm
  • Wed, Jan 6th 6:00pm
  • Thu, Jan 7th 7:30pm
Author Peter Ascoli in person!

"Rich and fascinating biography." – Daniel M. Gold, The New York Times

"Wholly engaging from its first frame to its last ... [Viewers] are guaranteed to leave the theater enlightened and perhaps more than a touch gobsmacked.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com

Before the appearance of this acclaimed documentary, Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald had been largely forgotten – except within the African American community, where his massive influence remained widely appreciated. A Russian peddler’s son who made a fortune running Sears, Roebuck & Co., the Chicago-based Rosenwald resolved to share his wealth. Connecting the dots between Russian pogroms and Southern lynchings, he focused his largesse on education for African Americans. His ingeniously financed Rosenwald Schools (inspired by his friend Booker T. Washington) provided unprecedented learning opportunities for black children in rural communities. His Rosenwald Fund nurtured the careers of a veritable who’s who of “talented tenth” eminences: Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Ralph Bunche, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou...the list goes on and on. Director Kempner (THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG) creates a stirring tribute not only to a remarkable man but, even more so, to the leading figures of twentieth-century African American culture, an astonishing number of whom were empowered by Rosenwald’s generosity. DCP digital. (MR)

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6 at 6 PM: A Movie Club event, facilitated by Peter Ascoli, Julius Rosenwald's grandson and author of Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South.

Play Trailer