The African-American Schools of Louisa County
The Rosenwald Foundation
Founded by Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932)

State Department of Education of Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
February 8, 1933

To the Colored Teachers of Virginia

Dear Teacher:

Rosenwald Day this year should receive special attention inasmuch as our great benefactor has recently passed away.  We are asking that all colored schools in our State observe March 3rd as Rosenwald Day - a day which is being observed over the whole South. .... 

W. D. Gresham, Superintendent
of Negro Education

(From State Department of Education Bulletin,
Courtesy of the Virginia State Library)

The same state Department of Education Bulletin gave the following information for teachers to use in their address about Mr. Rosenwald at each school:

Julius Rosenwald

"Just a year after Lincoln went to the White House, Julius Rosenwald was born; and he, like Lincoln, was born at Springfield, Illinois.

When a small boy he sold newspapers on week days and on Sunday he earned 25 cents by pumping a church organ.

At the age of 16, he became a clerk for a clothing firm in New York owned by his uncles.  After five years as clerk with this firm, he started his own business on Fifth Avenue and passed through the experience of business failure - an experience through which many of America's great merchant princes have passed and by which they have been "educated." Mr. Rosenwald then set up a flourishing partnership business in Chicago and soon  bought out his partner.  One of his best customers had started a mail order business and in 1895 Mr. Rosenwald acquired a half interest in this business for $70,000.  Twenty years later his interest in this business, Sears, Roebuck and Company, was worth $150,000,000.  

Mr. Rosenwald's benefactions have been too numerous and extensive to mention, but are estimated at a total of $60,000,000...

His kindly interest in their welfare has greatly endeared him to millions of American Negroes.  His memory will be cherished as a great, good, and generous man."

Louisa Training School
Louisa Training School.  Photo courtesy of
Dr. John Thomasson.

Julius Rosenwald The  Rosenwald Schools
in Louisa County

By 1932, the Rosenwald Fund helped build over 5300 schools in the South. Of the 381 Rosenwald schools in Virginia, there are two listed with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in Louisa County.  They are the Shady Grove School and Louisa Training School.  Earlier histories have reported that there were three Rosenwald Schools in Louisa County, but the third has yet to be positively identified.

" Treat people fairly and honestly and generously and their response will be fair and honest and generous.  Julius Rosenwald

When a community was granted a Rosenwald appropriation, they were sent very specific blueprints from which to build.  The plans included lots of space, natural light and modern instructional designs.  In fact, many of the schools built in Louisa County during the 1920-1935 period are similar to the Rosenwald plans.  In all likelihood, these plans were passed around and copied by others who were building newer schools for their children. 

In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the South's Rosenwald Schools to its most endangered list.  Since that time, The Rosenwald Initiative to restore the few remaining Rosenwald schools has drawn national attention and support.  Efforts are underway to restore the Shady Grove school in Louisa County. 

Shady Grove
The Shady Grove school near Gum Spring.

 

 

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Funding for this project was provided by The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and
The Louisa County Historical Society