The history, architecture, and preservation of Rosenwald schools in Georgia
Ciomek, Summer Anne
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Through the collaboration of a pioneer of African American education and a staunch businessman, six rural, African American schools were constructed in Alabama in 1914, financed with matching grants. The success of this experiment marked the beginning of the fruitful partnership between Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald. It was also the modest beginning of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, an African American educational philanthropy that was responsible for aiding in the construction of over 5,000 schools in fifteen states in the southern United States. The Rosenwald Fund quickly became a leader in the field of African American education as well as an innovator of rural schoolhouse design. This thesis recounts the history of the Rosenwald Fund, those responsible for its establishment and its school-building program, and the evolution of rural school design and its subsequent standardization. This thesis also examines three case studies of Rosenwald schools in Georgia that were successfully preserved, restored, and reused by community members and former students. Finally, a synopsis of efforts in the state of Georgia to find and protect these schools is presented as well as steps for preserving and reusing Rosenwald schools.