In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.
-Booker T. Washington
The Rosenwald School Story - Overview
Below is the trailer for Aviva Kempner’s Rosenwald, a documentary on the incredible story of how businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald joined with African-American communities in the South to build schools for them during the early part of the 20th century.
Rosenwald is the incredible story of Julius Rosenwald, who never finished high school, but rose to become the President of Sears. Influenced by the writings of the educator Booker T. Washington, this Jewish philanthropist joined forces with African American communities during the Jim Crow South to build over 5,300 schools during the early part of the 20th century.
Hopewell Rosenwald School-Cedar Creek
When a 1954 Supreme Court ruling declared segregation in education unconstitutional, Rosenwald Schools became obsolete. Once the pride of their communities, many were abandoned or demolished. In 2002, the National Trust joined forces with grassroots activists, local officials, and preservationists to help raise awareness of this important but little-known segment of our nation’s history, placing Rosenwald Schools on its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list. Of the 5,357 schools, shops, and teacher homes constructed between 1917 and 1932, only 10–12 percent are estimated to survive today.
The National Trust is providing technical assistance, grants, workshops, and conferences to help save these icons of progressive architecture for community use.
Major Sponsors of the Project
Martin and Sophia McDonald
(Property Owners and Former Slaves)
Texas Rosenwald Schools
Courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission