Built between 1912 and 1932, the Rosenwald Schools made it possible for African American children to obtain a formal education. Architecture and Building Science researchers are using the latest digital documentation technology to digitally preserve and bring needed attention to the disappearing Rosenwald Schools.
There are 18 Rosenwald Schools that are undocumented in the state of Alabama. This Tiger Giving Day, with your help, our goal of $5,000 will support the digital preservation of four additional Rosenwald Schools. Funds beyond our goal will contribute to the documentation of the remaining schools.
The Rosenwald Schools were a turning point for the African American community. Built in the rural South during the Jim Crow era through the partnership of Booker T. Washington and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, the schools provided African American children with educational opportunities not easily accessible or available elsewhere. Economists have attributed the Rosenwald Schools with furthering social and economic equality, establishing the African American middle class during a period of fierce oppression and segregation.
Almost 100 years after they were founded, the remaining Rosenwald Schools risk disappearing completely. Many are now dilapidated and have fallen into a state of disrepair. There is an urgent need to document the schools before they are gone.
During the summer of 2021, with support from Auburn University’s inaugural Creative Work and Social Impact Scholarship Program and the McWhorter Fund for Excellence, Auburn professors began the initial, phase one work of digitally documenting four of the Rosenwald Schools.
Using LiDAR scanners, 360-degree photography, aerial photogrammetry and other state-of-the-art documentation technology, Professors Junshan Liu and Gorham Bird are leading the effort to ensure the survival of the memory and significant history of the Rosenwald Schools.
Eventually, this documentation will be used to create digital and physical archives, 3-D printed models, online virtual tours, and exhibitions that will bring the history of the Rosenwald Schools to life and promote the importance of preservation in recounting the full American story.
Virtual tours are available of the restored New Hope Rosenwald School and the Tankersley Rosenwald School.
Your support will memorialize the spirit and deeply important history of the Rosenwald Schools.