In 1912 Booker T. Washington, prominent educator and proponent of the power of self-help, approached Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck, and Co., with his idea of building schools for African-American children in the rural South. Rosenwald had already demonstrated his interest in supporting building programs by offering matching grants for construction of African-American Y.M.C.A’s.
ANDERSON ROSENWALD SCHOOLS Added to The National Register of Historic Places
Thanks to the work of pioneering grassroots activists and the National Trust’s Rosenwald Schools Initiative, Rosenwald schools have begun to be identified, preserved and celebrated.
In the 1920s, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Co, Julius Rosenwald, created a fund to build schools in the rural areas of 15 southern states to enable black children to get an education during segregation. The schools were financed with matching grants from the Rosenwald fund, local governments and the local black communities. The Rosenwald School building program is recognized as one of the most important partnerships to advance African-American education in the early 20thcentury. The program gave African-Americans unprecedented access to education and a stronger sense of community pride in the segregated South. By 1928 one in every five rural schools for black students in the South was a Rosenwald school, and these schools housed one-third of the region’s rural black schoolchildren and teachers.