Courtland Rosenwald School seeks national recognition
Published 10:16 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources later this month will submit a nomination to the Virginia State Review Board and Virginia Board of Historic Resources to add the Courtland Rosenwald School to the National Historic Register. The presentation will take place on Thursday, June 16.
“Preservation of the building and preparation of the nomination form has been a true labor of love for Mrs. Maxine Nowlin and her fellow board members at the Courtland Community Center,” county administrator Mike Johnson said.
A former student of one of the eight former Rosenwald Schools in Southampton County, Nowlin helped the building obtain a Virginia Commonwealth Historical Marker in September 2015. The others, which were located in Boykins, Ebenezer, Franklin, Tucker Swamp, Sands, Sedley and White Meadow, have been demolished or remain in disrepair.
The Rosenwald schools, built primarily for the education of African-American children in the early 20th century, were jointly financed by the Julius Rosenwald Fund and the local communities. The fund was established in 1917 by Sears, Roebuck & Co. President Julius Rosenwald, who was inspired by his friend Booker T. Washington to sponsor a pilot program to build six schools in Alabama.
The Rosenwald Fund spend more than $4 million to help build nearly 5,000 schools across the south, oftentimes the first formal schools for African-Americans in each locality. The National Trust for Historical Preservation estimates that only 10 to 12 percent of those built in remain standing today.