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Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School

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Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School

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During the 2022 NADO Annual Training Conference, Wanda Christian presented on the history of the Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School, now the Isaac Chapel Historical Museum and Education Center.

During the 2022 NADO Annual Training Conference, Wanda Christian presented on the history of the Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School, now the Isaac Chapel Historical Museum and Education Center.

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Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School

  1. 1. Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School NADO Project Wanda Christian, Presenter Northeast Mississippi Planning and Development District
  2. 2. The Beginning . . . . Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School  The Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School is one of the few surviving Rosenwald schools in Mississippi.  It was constructed nearly a century ago to provide much- needed education for African- American children.
  3. 3. Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915)  Booker T. Washington was President of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.  Washington's work on education helped him enlist both the moral and substantial financial support of many major philanthropists, including Sears, Roebuck & Company President Julius Rosenwald.
  4. 4. Julius Rosenwald (August 12, 1862 – January 6, 1932)  Julius Rosenwald was an American businessman and philanthropist.  He is best known as a part-owner and leader of Sears, Roebuck and Company, and for establishing the Rosenwald Fund, which donated millions in matching funds to promote vocational or technical education.
  5. 5. 1910’s – 1920’s  In the 1910s, hope for a better educational future for children came from the newly-established Rosenwald Fund - an alliance between Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington.  Rosenwald used his money to fund Progressive Era projects and causes – one of those being Southern education.  In order to get a Rosenwald School built, Washington and Rosenwald requested that each community that needed a school be required to raise a certain portion of the money.  According to surviving records, the Rosenwald Fund provided a $1,000 donation, the White community donated $200, and the African-American community provided the remaining $2,600 to fund the creation of the school.
  6. 6. 1910’s – 1920’s  The first Rosenwald schools began in Alabama in 1912, though the schools soon spread across the South and to Mississippi.  By the early 1920s, there were one hundred and forty-one Rosenwald schools built in Mississippi.  The Rosenwald Fund provided various construction plans and a percentage of starting funds to the newly-established schools.  In Marshall County, the Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School, located south of Byhalia, was constructed in 1921-1922 by various entities in Marshall County.  According to surviving records, the Rosenwald Fund provided a $1,000 donation, the White community donated $200, and the African-American community provided the remaining $2,600 to fund the creation of the school.
  7. 7. 1910’s – 1920’s  The Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School Building  Contained four classrooms  Was a frame building with a composition roof  Used electricity as power  Used coal for heat  Utilized a hand pump for water  Utilized outdoor toilets  The Four-Acre Isaac Chapel Rosenwald Campus included  A flagpole  Two basketball courts  Baseball field
  8. 8. 1930’s – 1970’s . . . Present Day  The Rosenwald Fund represented the most significant advancement in African- American education since the beginning of public education.  The Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School survived for over forty years, educating several generations of African-American children.  In 1964, the school closed.  The building was later used for Head Start under the management of the Child Development Group of Mississippi, but this closed in 1972.  The building has remained empty since that time.  It is owned by Marshall County and has been used by the County for storage.
  9. 9. 1930’s – 1970’s . . . Present Day  Though the exterior of the building has been significantly altered, some exterior components of the Rosenwald school survive, including the unusual native stone steps at the front entrance and the original main door, with a gabled entrance awning supported by triangular braces.  The interior of the building remains largely intact, including the large classroom spaces and the rare surviving 5-panel folding doors that separated the individual classrooms.
  10. 10. Before Renovations
  11. 11. Before Renovations
  12. 12. Before Renovations
  13. 13. Before Renovations
  14. 14. Before Renovations
  15. 15. Before Renovations
  16. 16. Before Renovations
  17. 17. Before Renovations
  18. 18. Before Renovations
  19. 19. Before Renovations
  20. 20. Before Renovations
  21. 21. Before Renovations
  22. 22. After Renovations
  23. 23. After Renovations
  24. 24. After Renovations
  25. 25. Landmark Status  The Isaac Chapel Restoration Committee was established, and the members discussed saving and restoring the history and heritage of the school.  The project received Landmark Status (the highest form of historical protection a structure can receive in Mississippi) from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 2017.  A MDAH grant was awarded for the renovation of the existing school in the amount of $268,744 (55%) and Marshall County pledged $217,335 (45%), totaling $486,079.
  26. 26. A Brief Note About The Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School Alumni/Alumnae and Staff  Many students and teachers of the Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School still reside in Marshall County.  They have excelled in their careers and have become very successful as a result of attending this school.  Ms. Annie Kizer-Porter, an alumnae, noted, “My first school, so many memories. It was a great school, and many of the students went on to become teachers, lawyers, politicians, doctors, and other distinguishing jobs after completing high school and college.
  27. 27. Museum and Education Center  The Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School is now the Isaac Chapel Rosenwald Historical Museum and Education Center.  The new Museum and Education Center held a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting with over 100 residents that were former students, state and local politicians, and legislators present.  The facility will display artifacts donated by former teachers, students, and local residents.  Various educational classes will be available, and the history of Marshall County will be shared.  The facility will be available for class reunions, family reunions, weddings, and receptions.
  28. 28. Mississippi Department of Archives & History  The Isaac Chapel Rosenwald School is one of only a dozen surviving Rosenwald schools in Mississippi.  The importance of the Isaac Chapel School, along with other surviving Rosenwald schools in the State, is hard to overstate.  Jennifer Baughn, a historian with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and expert on the Rosenwald Schools in Mississippi, has stated that the Rosenwald schools were “the only philanthropic effort in the early 20th Century to concentrate on improving the learning environment of Black students in the South”.
  29. 29. Resources  Isaacchapelschool.org  Wikipedia.org  Images: hillcountryhistory.org; loc.gov; nps.gov; Mills & Mills Architect PC

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