Auxiliary Buildings

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia| Posted: 7/7/2008

Shops and Teachers' Homes 

From the beginning, Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald envisioned schools that would become focal points of their communities. Rosenwald shop buildings and teachers' homes associated with larger schools helped to make them centers of community life by offering practical instruction that would attract both students and parents from surrounding districts, and attracting better-qualified principals and teachers who would become local leaders. Tuskegee's shop and home designs blended with its school building plans and the rural built environment. Three-room and five-room plans for teacher's "cottages" were simple homes with front and back porches. They featured large kitchens that could double as home economics classrooms. Double doors were recommended between the living and dining rooms in the larger floor plan for club and community gatherings.

Although Tuskegee Institute distributed plans for teachers' homes and shops, these structures were not part of the Rosenwald building program at this time. Experience proved that local school boards resisted spending additional funds for these facilities at African American schools. Consequently, beginning in 1920, the Fund offered to pay 50 percent of the cost of a teachers' home at schools with at least an eight-month term. Initially the grant could run as much as $1,000 but in 1922 the Fund scaled its maximum award back to $900. In 1927, Fund officials sanctioned grants of between $200 and $400 for shops if built according to Rosenwald plans, fully equipped, and properly staffed. No doubt these provisions reflected their awareness that the industrial rooms inside Rosenwald schools were often not used for their intended purpose.

Privies and Well Houses

Improved sanitation for better health was a major concern of all of the Rosenwald school planners in the 1910s and early 1920s, when few rural schools boasted any sort of toilets. Tuskegee's Negro Rural School publication included illustrations of well houses to keep the water supply secure and clean, and both bucket and pit privies. Community School Plans likewise included plans for pit privies that could accommodate several students and had tall screens protecting the entrances for privacy. The 1931 Community School Plans did include provisions for indoor plumbing, although the planners acknowledged that pit privies would remain essential for schools with no access to or funds for a piped water supply. Next»