Rosenwald Schools in Virginia MPD

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NRHP Listing Date


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This Multiple Property Documentation Form facilitates the nomination to the registers of Rosenwald schools in Virginia. The concept of universal public education took root with the new Virginia constitution of 1869 that provided for a universal, but segregated system of public education. Prior to this, schools were either private institutions or sponsored by religious organizations and were not available to most children in Virginia, especially African American children. The provisions, however, were far from adequate. During Reconstruction, formerly enslaved individuals actively pursued universal education, establishing hundreds of schools throughout the South. They viewed literacy and formal education as a path to liberation and freedom. The Julius Rosenwald Fund sought to use private money to leverage available public funds in order to improve the education and lives of African Americans in the South. The fund, established by Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck & Co., and Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute, constituted an important avenue for the advancement of African American education during much of the first half of the twentieth century. From 1913 to 1937, the Julius Rosenwald Building Fund contributed to the construction of 5,358 elementary schools, teachers’ homes, and industrial buildings in 15 southern states. In Virginia, the Fund built 664 schools, 18 teachers’ homes and vocational buildings. The remaining school buildings reflect not only one of the most ambitious school building projects ever undertaken but also symbolize the struggle of African Americans for educational opportunities in a segregated South.

Last Updated: February 1, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

Nomination Form


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