Monday, March 3, 2014

         Representatives from Tri-County Technical College and the Anderson County Museum, along with key community partners, gathered February 28 to celebrate and dedicate a replica of a one-room Rosenwald School. Westside Community Center Director Dr. Bea Thompson, who attended Mt. Pleasant Rosenwald School, gathered with around 40 alumni of the schools on the front porch as she ceremonially rang the school's bell.


College, Community Dedicate Sole U.S. Reproduction of Rosenwald School at Anderson Campus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      3/3/2014  (By Lisa Garrett)

Video of Rosenwald School Dedication Ceremony
Videography and editing by Julia Murray
Media Arts and Technology major, Tri-County Technical College

         ANDERSON ---  The only reproduction in the United States, of a one-room Rosenwald School built in the early twentieth century for the education of African Americans, is now located at Tri-County Technical College's Anderson Campus.

         Representatives from the College and the Anderson County Museum, along with key community partners, gathered February 28 to celebrate and dedicate this historic building. Westside Community Center Director Dr. Bea Thompson, who attended Mt. Pleasant Rosenwald School, gathered with around 40 alumni of the schools on the front porch as she ceremonially rang the school's bell.

          Dedication Ceremony Photos

         The full-scale, one-room, 900-square-foot reproduction of the Rosenwald Schools was constructed over the last several years by students in the College's Building Construction program. 

         "This is a special privilege to be part of this dedication ceremony," said Dr. Thompson, who serves on Anderson City Council.  "On behalf of the community, I applaud Tim Bowen (director of the Anderson Campus), Tri-County Technical College, and Beverly Childs (executive director of the Anderson County Museum) for their leadership in the project and their vision to preserve and celebrate diversity and our cultural heritage in Anderson County.  I am honored they chose the Rosenwald School project to highlight this vision.   It's only fitting that we celebrate this during Black History Month.  This building stands on this campus as a legacy of a critical landmark in history."

         The Rosenwald Schools were the brainchild of Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears and Roebuck, and Booker T. Washington. The Rosenwald initiative, which began in 1912, was to build new school buildings for the African American communities throughout the United States.  Over a 20-year period, Rosenwald would provide matching funds to build precisely designed buildings which would provide school buildings that enable the best environment for learning.

         Because of the segregated school systems, in the early 1900s Anderson County had 19 schools throughout the county, most of which were two-teacher schoolhouses.

         The Anderson County African-American community would take advantage of this initiative to construct 19 modern school structures between the years of 1920 to 1930.

         The Rosenwald Schools in Anderson County were:  Anderson County Training School, Pendleton; Belton School, Generostee School, Deep Creek School, Ebenezer School, Fork Grove School, Honea Path School, Rosenwald Jackson School, Mt. Able School, Mountain Springs School, Murray's Grove School, New Light School, Northside School, Pendleton School, Pleasant Grove School, Reed Street School and Shop, Shiloh School, Shady Grove School and Welcome School.

         Of the 19 schools in Anderson County, only three remain --  Shiloh, New Light and Mountain Springs.  Some remnants of the Anderson Training School and Reed Street survive.  In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation put the Rosenwald schools on its top 10 endangered list.

         "You may ask, Why Rosenwald? Why Tri-County?" said Dr. Ronnie L. Booth, president of Tri-County.  "At the heart, they are one and the same.  It's about access and opportunity and making education available to everyone in the community," he said.

         "Rosenwald Schools were all about providing access to education in local communities. That's the legacy we celebrate.  Funds were made available so local folks could get what they so rightly deserved.  Tri-County is also about access and availability at the local level for individuals who may not have had the opportunity for education.  We honor our predecessors who understood that everybody has a right to access education," said Dr. Booth. 

         "Mr. Julius Rosenwald was all about education," said keynote speaker Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts.  "He saw a segment of society that needed a structure to be educated in.  It's up to us to do what Mr. Rosenwald did.  We have to give our time, talent and treasure to do so.  Rosenwald gave a lot through his treasure and his service to others.  We stress the importance of education.  Education is the great equalizer.  Like Mr. Rosenwald, we must feel a calling to give back of our time, talent, skills and resources." 

         In addition, Ms. Hattie Green and Ms. Magdalene Hawthorne, who both attended Rosenwald Schools, gave reflections on their experiences.  Ms. Hawthorne, of Oconee County, attended the Retreat Rosenwald School in Westminster and currently is working on the restoration project for that school.  Ms. Green, a Belton city council member, attended Geer Rosenwald School.

         The Anderson County Museum and Tri-County entered into a partnership three years ago to develop an historical mall at the Anderson Campus.  The Rosenwald School is the first project, said Bowen, who acknowledged the Westside Community Center and the Anderson County Human Relations Council, "who have helped tremendously with research and work. We're very proud of our Rosenwald School project that celebrates the history, culture and education of the Anderson area," he said.

         "Nothing happens without great people catching hold of a vision and doing good things. This is truly a community effort," said Bowen. 


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