Separate But Equal?

Presentation Title: Separate But Equal? Transforming Education for Black Children in the South – The Story of the Rosenwald School Program

In the early 1900s schools for black children in the South were deplorable. The buildings were typically old and in disrepair, the desks and books were often handed down from white schools, and the teacher-student ratio was not in balance. The rationale for this situation was that the African-American community typically paid less in taxes than the White community.  Thus less money should be spent on educating black children.

To remedy this situation, Julius Rosenwald, the President of Sears and Roebuck, established a fund to build schools in the South for black children. Booker T. Washington came up with the idea. Local communities raised money to match Rosenwald’s contribution. Schools were built using uniform building plans that had exacting details. During the life of the program, over 5,000 schools were built in the South. At one time 1 out of every 3 black children in the South attended a Rosenwald school.

(Read an article about the presentation in The Chautauquan Daily – See page 3)