February 28th has been officially designated in South Carolina as “Rosenwald School Day” in honor of the network of schools first established in 1912 by Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington.
Between 1912 and the 1960s more than 5,000 schoolhouses, teachers’ homes, and industrial training workshops were built across 15 southern states. It is estimated that 600,000 African Americans, more than a third of the total number of African American students in the south, attended a Rosenwald School. Of the 500 schools built in South Carolina, only 40 remain standing, largely located in rural areas of the state.
What, you may ask, does this have to do with the SCNPS? Answer: There’s a movement afoot among a number of conservation-minded organizations here in SC to preserve those remaining schools, both as historic and educational sites, and also as green spaces for their communities. In partnership with the Conservation Voters of South Carolina and others, the SCNPS is proud to support this effort, dubbed “a bridge between cultural preservation and land protection.”
To learn all about the Rosenwald Schools, visit the National Park Service, HERE. To learn more about the initiative to create a new Rosenwald School State Park, visit the CVSC web site, HERE.