First, a good article in the New York Times about the interest in restoring Rosenwald schools, “Black Schools Restored as Landmarks.” As usual, it concentrates on Rosenwald schools in Eastern seaboard states and ignores Mississippi, which had the second-highest number of Rosenwalds built, but it still gives good background and context and shows several successful preservation projects. In Mississippi, while our survival rate has been lower than many states, alumni and community groups have nevertheless come out in force to save the remaining schools. Our recent Rosenwald projects include the Lil’ Red Schoolhouse in Drew (strangely enough it’s not “lil”–it’s one of the biggest school buildings I’ve been in!), the Prentiss Institute, and Randolph School in Pass Christian, one of our Katrina survivors.
Also, tomorrow night (Monday, Jan 18, 9 PM CST), PBS stations will be showing “Benjamin Latrobe: America’s First Architect” about the designer of many early American landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol and the Baltimore Bascilica. Hosted by New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger, the program features interviews with Mississippi State’s Emeritus Professor of Architecture Michael Fazio. Fazio and his co-author Patrick Snadon published their The Domestic Architecture of Benjamin Latrobe in 2006; the Society of Architectural Historian’s recognized the work with its coveted Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award in 2008. Dr. Fazio is also a longtime member of Mississippi’s National Register Review Board.