Donation Helps Restore, Preserve Historically Black Schools
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lowe’s has announced an additional eight Rosenwald Schools will be restored through their joint initiative that has now provided grants to help preserve more than 40 of these endangered historic schools. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded each of the eight schools a $40,000 grant through the National Trust.
The brainchild of Booker T. Washington and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, the Rosenwald School Building Program greatly improved the quality of public education for African-Americans in the early 20th Century rural south. Today, only about 12 percent of these schools are estimated to remain standing, with many in extreme levels of disrepair. With help from Lowe's and the National Trust, the eight schools in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and South Carolina once again will serve as vital community centers.
“Lowe’s continued commitment to the Rosenwald Schools not only helps ensure a critical piece of our American past is preserved, but that these schools can gain second lives as gathering places for local communities,” said David Brown, acting president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Since 2006, Lowe’s Foundation has donated $4.5 million to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to preserve significant historic properties across the country. The eight Rosenwald Schools are expected to complete their Lowe’s-funded restorations in 2011, the 100th anniversary of the first meeting between Washington and Rosenwald. In 1912, Washington and Rosenwald piloted a rural school building program for African-Americans in Alabama. Over the next 20 years, the Rosenwald Fund used matching grants to help construct more than 5,300 schools and related buildings in 15 southern and southwestern states. Court-ordered school desegregation in the 1950s dictated that many Rosenwald Schools be closed, and most of these historic buildings had been lost and forgotten until recently.
“Preserving the places that are important to our communities has always been important to Lowe’s,” said Larry D. Stone, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “Thanks to the National Trust’s sounding an alarm and rallying support, dozens of Rosenwald Schools have been saved and, along with them, stories of sacrifice and success to inspire and educate future generations.”
Rosenwald School locations and post-restoration uses:
Currie, Canetuck School. The building will expand senior services to include fitness and health programs and also house continuing education classes.
Princeton, Princeton Graded School. The school will serve as a community center offering educational programs and will double as administrative offices for a nonprofit organization.
Bethpage, Durham’s Chapel Rosenwald School. The facility will be upgraded and continue its use as a multi-purpose community center for weddings, tours, and club and lodge meetings.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.PreservationNation.org) is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, eight regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.