Rosenwald Schools and Their Impact on the South

Posted By Bill Payer on Nov 2, 2022 | 0 comments

Does the name Julius Rosenwald ring a bell at all? Have you ever heard about Rosenwald schools? You’ve probably heard about Booker T. Washington and you’ve certainly heard of retail giant Sears.

Rosenwald was president and part owner of Sears when, starting in 1913, he and Booker T. Washington kicked off a movement that by 1932 built 5,357 schools, shops, and teachers’ homes in fifteen states. Four hundred and fifty Rosenwald schools were built in South Carolina between 1913 and 1940 at a cost of $2,892,360. One of those schools was in St. George. Efforts to reclaim and restore it were featured in a front page story in the Post & Courier.

“ST. GEORGE — Not long ago, you couldn’t stand inside without the floor giving way in places. The ceiling was falling in. Debris was everywhere. The building was enshrouded by a messy fringe of green, the decaying wooden frame obscured by overgrowth.

Today, the old Rosenwald School in this modest residential neighborhood just off U.S. Highway 78 is a shining beacon — restored and nearly ready for action.

It has been a 10-year-long heavy lift, but a determined team of preservationists, community leaders and supporters is seeing the project through, for this old school has profound historical meaning and plenty of future potential. It’s part of a fascinating chapter in the civil rights struggle against injustice, and it’s a symbol of transformation of both the physical and intellectual kind.” CLICK HERE for the entire article. Non-subscribers will encounter a paywall.

But there’s tons more information available on line about the Rosenwald Schools and the ongoing effort to recognize and preserve their legacy.

The online South Carolina Encyclopedia is worth checking out. CLICK HERE. And the website SC Picture Project has……you guessed it…… of some of the schools. CLICK HERE. Not surprisingly, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History has a rich list of relevant links CLICK HERE.

The website is a terrific find….it lists information and locations for thousands of historical markers….in this case three Rosenwald schools in Berkeley County. Click the highlighted links below for more background including photos and maps. To visit the entire website CLICK HERE Like I said, it’s a treasure.

77South Carolina (Berkeley County), Moncks Corner — 8-66 — Berkeley Training High School
(Front text) Berkeley Training High School, located here from 1955 to 1970, replaced a four-room wood school 1 mi. S at Main St. and Old U.S. Hwy. 52. That school, built in 1918-1920 at a cost of $6,700, had been partially funded by the . . . — — Map (db m41606) HM
78South Carolina (Berkeley County), Moncks Corner — 8-39 — Dixie Training School / Berkeley Training High School
[Front] Berkeley Training High School, first called Dixie Training School, stood here from 1920 until the 1980s. The first public school for blacks in Moncks Corner was founded in 1880. It held classes in local churches until its first . . . — — Map (db m29133) HM
79South Carolina (Berkeley County), St. Stephen — 8-51 — St. Stephen Colored School / St. Stephen High School
(Marker Front)St. Stephen Colored School St. Stephen Colored School, the first public African American school in St. Stephen, was built here in 1924-25. A three-room frame building, it was one of almost 500 schools in S.C. funded in part . . . — — Map (db m29334) HM

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