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Beacons for Black Education in the American South

schoolsheaderFrom the 1910s into the early 1930s, more than 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.

Rosenwald School History


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

Explore the story of the Rosenwald School program in North Carolina

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 plans >>

View and download high resolution documents:
Plans 1Plans 2Plans 3Plans 4Plans 5Plans 6

Rosenwald School Locations

mapBy 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 Rosenwald Schools


More Rosenwald buildings were built in North Carolina than any other state, a total of 813 by the program’s conclusion.
List of Rosenwald in Schools NC >>
List of Rosenwald Shops >>
List of Rosenwald Teacher homes >>

Rosenwald School Resources

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