Built in 1930, the Julius Rosenwald Consolidated School in Society Hill, South Carolina was a combined elementary and high school until 1953. The school was one of almost 500 in South Carolina partially funded by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation. Arthur A. Prince was the first principal of the school, which taught students in grades 1-10; grade 11 was added in 1939 and grade 12 in 1948. The school received accreditation after World War II and became Rosenwald High School. Despite being a high school, the school continued to educate elementary students until 1954 when Rosenwald Elementary School was built. The high school was closed in 1982.
The Julius Rosenwald Fund was established in 1915 to provide grants to African Americans for school construction. Rosenwald, the president of the Sears Roebuck Company, worked closely with Tuskeegee Institute in Alabama to develop the program.
Rosenwald focused his school construction efforts on those states with mandated racial segregation of its schools. Ultimately, 15 states participated in the school construction program. 500 Rosenwald-funded buildings were constructed in South Carolina.
Rosenwald required that all new school buildings be constructed along a specific set of plans developed by architects and educators at Tuskeegee. The Fund also required a match by the local school district and by the African American community.
The Rosenwald Fund schools marks the first time in South Carolina’s history that a consistent black school construction program occurred as the state was not committed to educating black children. As time passed, these schools fell into disrepair. In 1951, many of the students that attended Rosenwald Schools were consolidated into equalization schools and the old schools closed.
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