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NewsMonday, June 6, 2011
An exhibit of Anderson County's Rosenwald Schools, which were built primarily for the education of African Americans in the early twentieth century, is the first of many collaborative projects between Tri-County Technical College and the Anderson County Museum. The mini exhibit of Anderson County's Rosenwald Schools is currently on display in the lobby of Tri-County's Anderson Campus, located at 511 Michelin Boulevard. Cutting the ribbon for the display are from left, Rusty Burns, Anderson County interim administrator; Eugene Grant, dean of the College's Industrial and Engineering Technology division; Alison Hinman, curator of collection at the Anderson County Museum; Beverly Childs, director of the Anderson County Museum; Dr. Ronnie Booth, president of Tri-County; Bea Thompson, director of the Westside Community Center; Helen Rosemond-Saunders, a member of the College's Commission; and Tim Bowen, director of the Anderson Campus.
Exhibit of Anderson County's Rosenwald Schools on Display at Anderson Campus
CONTACT: TIM BOWEN, 646-6705
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 6/3/2011
(By Lisa Garrett)
ANDERSON --- An exhibit of Anderson County's Rosenwald Schools, which were built primarily for the education of African Americans in the early twentieth century, is the first of many collaborative projects between Tri-County Technical College and the Anderson County Museum.
The mini exhibit of Anderson County's Rosenwald Schools is currently on display in the lobby of Tri-County Technical College's Anderson Campus, located at 511 Michelin Boulevard.
Representatives from the Anderson County Museum and Tri-County gathered Thursday to formally announce their new partnership and to promote the upcoming exhibits that will celebrate the history, culture and education of the Anderson area.
"Our partnership is about serving, educating and transforming our community," said Tim Bowen, director of the Anderson Campus. "Since opening in 2007, it has been our mission to weave the campus into the fabric of this community," said Bowen.
"A simple project blossomed into a bold vision when we marshaled our resources," added Bowen, when describing the partnership between the College and the museum.
"This is one of the most exciting days for the Anderson County Museum," said Beverly Childs, director of the museum. "History was made when we got together and said let's form a partnership."
Alison Hinman, curator of collection at the Anderson County Museum, gave an overview of the history of the 19 Anderson County Rosenwald Schools.
Because of the segregated school systems, in the early 1900s Anderson County had more than 400 schools throughout the county, most of which were one room schoolhouses, she said. "The Rosenwald Schools were the brainchild of Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears and Roebuck, and Booker T. Washington," she said. The Rosenwald initiative, which began in the early 1920s, was to build new school buildings for the African American communities throughout the United States. Over a 10-year period, Rosenwald would provide matching funds to build precisely designed buildings which would provide school buildings that enable the best environment for learning," she said.
"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 records from this tremendous project are kept at Fisk University, along with the names of the schools, the photos of most of the schools and a record of what was contributed by the communities," said Hinman. The records indicate that in the rural areas of the county the black Andersonians raised most of their own funds, without white or public funds being contributed except in a few instances, she added.
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.
Rosenwald began the idea of prefab houses with the introduction of the Craftsman homes catalogs, where people ordered pre-packaged homes from their store, which were shipped by railroad, and built on land.
He used the same philosophy when providing funds for the Rosenwald Schools, Hinman said. The first plans were designed by the Tuskegee Institute architects but eventually plans were drawn by architect Samuel Smith.
Plans were designed based on the fact that schools were in rural settings with no electricity available. Plans were specifically designed for the number of teachers the schools had. "Many schools are easily recognizable because of their consistent appearance. Most were built with wood clapboard, painted white, with large double hung windows," she said
Some of the larger designs were present in Anderson County. In Pendleton, the Anderson County Training School and Reed Street in Anderson were examples of multi-teacher school plans.
Most of the Rosenwald schools have disappeared from Anderson County however; a few have survived by being used for a different purpose such as a community center or a farm building. The remaining structures have lost their distinctive long windows due to the need for draft-free environment for central heating and electricity," Hinman said.
Of the 19 schools in Anderson County, only three remain -- Shiloh, New Light and Mt. Pleasant. 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.
Westside Community Center Director Bea Thompson, who attended Mt. Pleasant and whose two older sisters attended Shiloh, called the exhibit and the partnership "wonderful. It's amazing to sit here and listen to what you will do in the community."
The Rosenwald Schools of Anderson County is the first in a series of joint projects presented by the museum in Tri-County over the coming years.
Students from the Industrial and Engineering Technology Division will be involved through construction projects. In the fall students will build a full-scale, one-room, one-teacher reproduction of the Rosenwald Schools.
And in the future, they will build a replica of an electric trolley that ran in Anderson.
Later an historical mall will house these projects for students and the community to view and enjoy.
"One of my loves in life is history," said Tri-County Technical College President Ronnie Booth. "History makes us who we are. This exhibit is an opportunity to celebrate history. I want to thank the county and the community, as well as College faculty and staff, for their good work."