Historical Society presenting program on Rosenwald Schools for African-American children

The Botetourt County Historical Society Inc. is sponsoring a program on the Rosenwald Schools that were built throughout the South during the early part of the 20th century to serve African-American children.  Botetourt County had four Rosenwald Schools constructed and operated by Botetourt County Public Schools.

“Preservation Virginia’s Rosenwald School Program” will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Fincastle Library Meeting Room, located on Academy Street in Fincastle.  The program is open to the public and admission is free.

The speaker will be Sonja Ingram, Preservation Virginia’s Manager of Preservation Field Services, working out of the Danville Office of Preservation Virginia.  has a Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland. Before joining Preservation Virginia, Sonja worked in the southern United States and Puerto Rico, where she was the assistant director of Archeological Conservancy’s Eastern Regional Office.

Her presentation will include a general overview of Preservation Virginia’s programs and the work they are doing with the Rosenwald Schools.

More than 5,000 Rosenwald Schools were built, primarily for the education of African-American children in the segregated South during the early part of the 20th century.  Begun as a project to assist with the need for school construction in underfunded areas of the South, Julius Rosenwald, who was the part owner and president of Sears, Roebuck and Co., partnered with Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute (born and raised in Franklin County), to help fund the program. He required local communities to raise and provide matching funds and local school boards to manage and operate the schools.

Four Rosenwald Schools were built in Botetourt County and none of them are still standing. They were located in Eagle Rock, Buchanan, Indian Rock (north of Buchanan) and the Hollins/Carvins Cove area.

This program is being sponsored by The Botetourt County Historical Society as a service to the community. Following up on this program, the Historical Society is sponsoring a free showing of the full length movie on the Rosenwald Schools at the Buchanan Theatre on September 11 at 6:30 p.m.  Admission is free and the concession stand will be open.

Everyone is invited to attend these two special programs presented for the community by The Botetourt County Historical Society.  For additional information, visit the website at bothistsoc.wordpress.com or contact the Botetourt County Museum at 473-8394.

Sonja Ingram