One of America's Most Endangered Historic Places
Placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2002 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, communities in Texas are identifying and preserving their Rosenwald legacies. Calvert’s W.D. Spigner Elementary was the largest Rosenwald School built in Texas and is still in use as a school today. Sweet Home Vocational & Agricultural High School outside of Seguin serves the Baptist Church and community as a nutrition center and church hall. West Columbia’s school is part of the city’s museum complex and the Pleasant Hill school near Linden in Cass County is owned by the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
African Americans living in a 19th and early 20th century Texas were denied access to education for decades but opportunities finally began to emerge after emancipation. The Freedman’s Bureau, organized by the federal government, founded several schools in the state that offered classes to African Americans but Texas’ segregated public education system continued to underfunded African American scholastic activities, limiting student access to books, libraries, educational resources, and buildings. The Rosenwald program didn’t necessarily resolve segregation issues in education for African American students in Texas, but the establishment of the Rosenwald Schools signaled a transformative beginning for the country that would one day lead to a Supreme Court ruling, Brown vs. Board of Education, that would alter African American access to education forever.
Read more about Rosenwald Schools in the Handbook of Texas Online.