The Louisiana Rosenwald Schools

The Louisiana Rosenwald Schools were schools for African-American students in mostly rural areas constructed between the 1912 and 1932. They were an idea of Booker T. Washington and funded partially by grants from Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears & Roebuck. Matching funds were required by the local community. After desegregation, some of these buildings were reused, but many have been lost.

Rosenwald Schools were primarily located in rural areas, constructed of timber framing on short piers. Windows were numerous and often grouped together, to provide for natural light and ventilation. The most common forms feature gable-ends. Some schools also included a teacher's home, shop, privy and well house. While most schools followed the designs of the Tuskegee Plans (1912-1920) or Community School Plans (1920-1928), some schools followed modified or vernacular designs.

From approximately 2001 to 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation operated the Rosenwald Schools Initiative, lead by Catherine Carey and Tracy Hayes, out of the Southeast Regional Office in Charleston. They provided invaluable resources, training and networking to identify and preserve Rosenwald Schools. Lowe's Home Improvement was a major supporter of the effort and provided grants during that time to organizations for preservation of the structures. Approximately 1% of Louisiana's Rosenwald Schools have been identified.

We now need YOUR help in determining how many Louisiana Rosenwald School buildings have been lost, or still exist and need rehabilitation. If you have information about a Rosenwald School in your disrict, please send us a note. Thank you for your help!

Resources/Links

Discover more about Rosenwald Schools around Louisiana:

District One    Jefferson – Orleans – Plaquemines – St. Bernard – St. Tammany

District Two    Ascension – East Baton Rouge – East Feliciana – Iberville – Livingston – Pointe Coupee – St. Helena – Tangipahoa – Washington – West Baton Rouge – West Feliciana

District Three    Assumption – Lafourche – St. Charles – St. James – St. John the Baptist – St. Mary – Terrebonne

District Four    Acadia – Evangeline – Iberia – Lafayette – St. Landry – St. Martin – Vermilion

District Five    Allen – Beauregard – Calcasieu – Cameron – Jefferson Davis

District Six    Avoyelles – Catahoula – Concordia – Grant – LaSalle – Rapides – Vernon – Winn

District Seven    Bienville – Bossier – Caddo – Claiborne – DeSoto – Lincoln – Natchitoches – Red River – Sabine – Webster

District Eight    Caldwell – East Carroll – Franklin – Jackson – Madison – Morehouse – Ouachita – Richland – Tensas – Union – West Carroll