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National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lowe's Celebrate Black History Month with Grants to Help Restore 15 Historic Rosen

National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lowe's Celebrate Black History Month with Grants to Help Restore 15 Historic Rosenwald Schools

Lowe's $1 million grant doubles initial pledge

Media Contact: Nord Wennerstrom, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 202.588.6380,
Maureen Rich, Lowe's Companies, Inc., 704.758.2298,

Washington, DC (February 26, 2009)- In honor of Black History Month, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lowe's today announced the second round of grants from a joint initiative to restore iconic schools that represent an important chapter in United States history. Lowe's provided a second $1 million grant to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to save 15 "Rosenwald schools" from permanent disrepair and, through adaptive reuse, to transform them into once-again vibrant facilities in their communities.  In 2008, Lowe's awarded $1 million in its first round of grants to fund work at 17 Rosenwald schools.

"The Lowe's contribution will help to preserve these iconic landmarks of monuments to African American history," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"In a time of great racial inequality, Julius Rosenwald worked with communities across the South and Southwest to improve educational opportunities for African Americans. These schools represent a critical link to our national heritage, and we are pleased to work with Lowe's in preserving these important places that tell America's story."

In 1912, Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington partnered to pilot a rural school building program for African Americans in Alabama. The Rosenwald Fund ultimately provided $4.7 million in grants, and African Americans donated an additional $4.7 million to build state-of-the-art school facilities between 1918 and 1932. Today, these buildings are called "Rosenwald schools."

At the heart of many African American communities, these schools served as community centers and provided meeting spaces and school facilities. When the program concluded in 1932, more than 5,300 schools, vocational shops and teachers' homes had been constructed in 15 states across the South and Southwest.

"The role Rosenwald schools played in the educational and civic lives of communities throughout the South cannot be underestimated," said Larry D. Stone, chairman of the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "Preserving these historic structures and returning them to be valuable gathering places is important to our nation's history and the communities where they are located - both worthy goals Lowe's is proud to continue to support."

In 1954, the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas Supreme Court decision caused most remaining Rosenwald schools to close. Once closed, these hallmarks of early 20th century African American educational progress and community life fell victim to changing times.

Today, no more than 10 to 12 percent of Rosenwald schools are estimated to remain standing. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Rosenwald schools to its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2002.

For more information on Rosenwald schools, please visit

Rosenwald School locations and post-restoration uses: 


  • Greensboro, Emory/Tunstall School, The building will be used as a community center and cultural heritage museum.
  • Notasulga, Shiloh Rosenwald School, The site will be part of the Black Heritage Tourism Trail within the Black Belt of Alabama.


  • Dermott, Selma Rosenwald School, The building will continue to function as a community center and meeting facility. It will also be the site of the 2009 All-School reunion and a small library is slated to be installed in the summer of 2009. 


  • Crittenden, Dry Ridge Consolidate Colored School, The site will be used to educate elementary and secondary school students on the history of Rosenwald Schools. It will also provide adult education programs focusing on historic preservation, intercultural relations and other topics of interest to community groups.

North Carolina: 

  • Castalia, Castalia Rosenwald School, The building will continue to house community programs and events and serve as an emergency shelter. The community also plans to organize a small museum in the entrance of the school.
  • Columbia, Alligator Rosenwald School, The school will serve as a community center for local residents and a visitor's center and classroom for eco-tourists and students during their visit to the neighboring Palmetto Pear Tree Preserve.
  • Snow Hill, Greene County Training School, The building will continue to be used as a textile factory and an adult literacy center will be added.  The history of the school and the community will be displayed on the walls of the literacy classrooms.
  • Walnut Cove, Walnut Cove Colored School, The building will continue to function as a senior center.

South Carolina:

  • Columbia, Pine Grove School, The school will be used as a community museum and education site.  Curriculum will be developed that will compliment the school system's existing social studies plans and will provide teachers with the tools necessary to incorporate the information into the classroom.


  • Celina, Free Hills School, The facility will be used as a multi-purpose community center.


  • Beeville, Lott-Canada School, The building will continue to house classrooms for the continuing education program at Coastal Bend College.
  • West Columbia, Columbia Rosenwald School, The school will be returned to its original use as a one-room school and will also function as a children's museum.


  • Dillwyn, Buckingham Training School, The building will house a conference room, two multi-purpose rooms, and a state of the art computer center with broadband services and virtual training capabilities.  The rooms will also be used for at-risk youth development, self-esteem enhancement sessions, career options expansion, GED classes, and community meetings. 
  • Goochland, Second Union School, The site will be used as the Center for the History of Black Education in Goochland County.
  • Martinsville, Dry Bridge School, The site will be used as an education center for adults with special needs in the Martinsville and Henry County area.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation ( 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, nine regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in all 50 states, 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.

Lowe's is a proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity International, American Red Cross, United Way of America, and the Home Safety Council, in addition to numerous non-profit organizations and programs that help communities across the country.  In 2007, Lowe's and the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $27.5 million to support community and education projects in the United States and Canada. Lowe's also encourages volunteerism through the Lowe's Heroes program, a company-wide employee volunteer initiative.  Lowe's is a FORTUNE® 50 company with fiscal year 2008 sales of $48.2 billion and has more than 1,650 stores in the United States and Canada.  For more information, visit

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