Raising Funds to Revitalize Rosenwald Schools



Located across the rural south, from Maryland to Texas, Rosenwald schools were constructed for African American students in the early 20th century – a collaboration between Booker T. Washington and the philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. When public schools were integrated in the 1960s and 1970s, many of these historic structures were abandoned, sold or demolished. Once vibrant community centers and educational beacons, it is now thought that only 10-15% of over 5,000 Rosenwald-funded structures survive today.


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Exhibits on display at the Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center educate visitors about the history of the Rosenwald school.

The National Trust launched its Rosenwald Schools Initiative in 2002 to raise awareness of these remarkable places, build a network of Rosenwald school preservation activists, connect preservationists with resources and provide financial and technical assistance to activists working in a 14 state region across the Southern and Southwest United States. To generate public awareness and support about these vanishing resources, Rosenwald schools were placed on the 2002 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Although many of these buildings have now been saved and adapted for modern use, many are still under threat.  The National Trust continues to be strongly engaged in this work, and the Rosenwald Initiative is now raising funds to:

  • Provide grants to Rosenwald School restoration projects through the Alice Rosenwald Flexible Fund for Rosenwald Schools
  • Provide technical assistance to preservation groups
  • Maintain our website www.rosenwaldschools.com
  • Promote and publicize Rosenwald schools to raise awareness
  • Raise awareness through development of a traveling exhibit on Rosenwald schools
  • Maintain network of Rosenwald school preservationists

These remarkable places have received a boost in the past few years thanks to a generous grant-making partnership with our corporate partner Lowe's.