History South

Beacons for Black Education
in the American South

by Tom Hanchett

From the 1910s into the early 1930s, more that 5300 school buildings were constructed in African American communities throughout 15 southern states. Seed money came from Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Company. Black communities put up cash, and local school boards agreed to operate the facilities.

Today a new Rosenwald Initiative sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation seeks to help preserve these beacons of African American education.

Julius Rosenwald

Rosenwald School History

Booker T. Washington's vision, Julius Rosenwald's philanthropic committment, plus local donations and hands-on work by thousands of community members all came together to create the Rosenwald schools. Read history >>
  Nashville Plans Cover

Rosenwald School Plans

The schools came in all sizes from little one-teacher units all the way up to seven-teacher facilities that offered full instruction from first grade through high school. View and download plans >>

Rosenwald School Locations

By 1932, when the construction grants ended, 5357 new buildings stood in 883 counties throughout fifteen Southern states. Most were schools, but workshops and teachers homes also occasionally received funding. View map>>

  NC Map

North Carolina Rosenwald Schools, Teacher Homes, and Shops

More Rosenwald buildings were built in North Carolina than any other state, a total of 813 by the program's conclusion.

Schools by county >>
Teacher homes >>
Shops >>


Rosenwald School Links

Assorted books, articles, and preservation agencies. Links>>




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