Washington and Rosenwald structured the program to engage the communities it benefited: rather than financing the entire construction project, Rosenwald provided partial funds—no more than half the total cost of the project—that had to be matched by the community and by a county school board appropriation. Grants were paid only after matching funds had been secured and construction had been approved. Community members could match the funding in money or in kind, by deeding over land for the project or contributing labor or materials.
Edwin Rogers Embree replaced an elderly, ailing Rosenwald as president of the Rosenwald Fund in 1928. At this time the fund was reorganized and shifted its focus to public health initiatives, leadership programs, and higher education. Embree discontinued the Rosenwald rural school building program in 1932, the year of Rosenwald's death. After 1954, when the United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education forbade racial segregation in public education, many counties closed their Rosenwald schools in the 1960s and 1970s as they began to integrate black and white students. Newer Rosenwald-assisted buildings—by then more than twenty years old—were sometimes incorporated into county desegregation plans or repurposed.
Rosenwald Schools in Virginia
The number of Rosenwald schools that exist in Virginia today is not known. Some have been renovated and restored to community use, such as Rappahannock County's Scrabble School, which reopened in May 2009 as a senior center. In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed all Rosenwald schools in the United States on its list of most endangered historic buildings.
1912 - Julius Rosenwald agrees to allocate part of a larger donation to Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute toward the construction of six schools for African Americans in rural Alabama.
1914 - Julius Rosenwald agrees to fund a larger program for constructing schools for African Americans in rural areas. The program operates out of the extension department of the Tuskegee Institute.
1915 - Architecture professors at the Tuskegee Institute develop a series of blueprints for the rural school building program.
1917 - Having outstripped the capacity of the Tuskegee Institute to manage the rural school building program, Julius Rosenwald sets up his own philanthropic foundation, the Julius Rosenwald Fund, to run the program. The foundation is based in Chicago, Illinois.
1920 - The Julius Rosenwald Fund moves its operations to an office in Nashville, Tennessee.
1920 - The Rosenwald Fund publishes a series of architectural plans by Samuel L. Smith under the title Community School Plans. The book also contains recommendations for paint colors, blackboard and desk placement, and school beautification.
1928 - Edwin Rogers Embree replaces an ailing Julius Rosenwald as the president of the Julius Rosenwald Fund. At this time, the foundation begins to shift its focus from rural school building to public health initiatives, leadership programs for African Americans, and higher education.
1932 - After the death of Julius Rosenwald, Edwin Rogers Embree, the president of the Rosenwald Fund, discontinues the rural school building program.
2002 - The National Trust for Historic Preservation places all Rosenwald-assisted schools on its list of most endangered historic buildings.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
McClure, P. Rosenwald Schools. (2018, April 3). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Rosenwald_Schools.
- MLA Citation:
McClure, Phyllis. "Rosenwald Schools." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 3 Apr. 2018. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: May 29, 2012 | Last modified: April 3, 2018
Contributed by Phyllis McClure, an independent researcher and writer. She died in 2010.