Rosenwald

Preservation & Rosenwald Schools

In 1912, Booker T. Washington approached philanthropist Julius Rosenwald about a concept developed at Tuskegee University to build rural schools desperately needed for African American children in Alabama. That partnership sparked a movement that eventually created more than 5,300 schools, teacher’s homes and vocational shops for African American children across 15 southern and southwestern states between 1912 and 1932.  Some of these schools are now a century old and while some are still used as educational facilities, and have been restored/rehabilitated, others suffer from abandonment, neglect or lack of resources.  Below are some tools and tips to help protect and preserve Rosenwald Schools across the country.

Contact Us

Working on a Rosenwald School? Have questions about your project? Contact us at 843-266-2046 x2044 or via email below.

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Preserving Rosenwald Schools Booklet

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Find Funding

In 2014, the National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded over $1 million in grant funding to 196 projects nationwide. Funding from the National Trust is awarded to nonprofit organizations and public agencies, and the majority of our funding is awarded for planning and education projects through our National Trust Preservation Funds grant program.

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Rosenwald Schools: A National Trust National Treasure

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Find a Rosenwald School

The most comprehensive listing of Rosenwald Schools can be found in the Rosenwald Fund records located in Special Collections at the John Hope and Aurelia Franklin Library, Fisk University, Nashville. A portion of these records has been digitized by Fisk University's Franklin Library and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A searchable database is available at the link below. While this is the most complete list of Rosenwald Schools, it is not exhaustive.

For best results, conduct your search by entering information in county and state fields only.

Note: This is a primary source record. Inaccuracies or inconsistencies are part of the historical record and may be found in this source. Occasionally a school record is not found in the cards. Cross-referencing with other portions of the Rosenwald Fund records at Fisk University, with state and county department of education records, oral history sources, topographical maps and other sources is highly recommended.

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2015 Rosenwald Schools Conference Recordings

In June 2015, the National Trust for Historic Preservation held a national Rosenwald Schools conference in Durham, NC called Sharing the Past→Shaping the Future. Watch and listen to the full playlist of session recordings from experts in the field of Rosenwald School preservation.

Podcast: Voices of Rosenwald Schools

Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is active in states across the south and southwest, revitalizing these modest schoolhouses as vital hubs of community activity. Made possible by grant funding from the Hillsdale Foundation, this podcast series will introduce you to the people we have met who are tireless advocates for the schools that helped shape their lives. 

[Episode 1] Voices of Rosenwald Schools: Jeanne Cyriaque
Jeanne Cyriaque is the African American programs coordinator at the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. As part of her job, Jeanne searches for Rosenwald Schools in the more rural parts of Georgia, where more than 250 schools were built, and assists organizations and communities in finding the resources they need to preserve them.

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