The Julius Rosenwald Fund - image courtesy of Excell Lafayette Jr.
Julius Rosenwald Fund. In 1912, Tuskegee Institute President Dr. Booker T. Washington invited Jewish-American philanthropist Julius Rosenwald to serve on the Tuskegee board of directors to help African American education, where rural, segregated southern schools suffered from inadequate facilities and books. Rosenwald’s 1917 school building fund encouraged and helped organize local collaboration between Blacks and Whites. Providing grant funding, the Fund required communities to raise matching funds. Local Black communities raised money, donated land and or labor for the efforts. Between 1917 and 1932, Rosenwald funded 5,357 community schools, teacher’s homes, and industrial shops in the 15 states of the former South. Many of the schools were 1-4 room Tuskegee Institute designs. They were taught by Black teachers under the local Board of Education. By the 1930s, 1/3 of all Black children attended a Rosenwald School.
Creek County Rosenwald Schools. Creek County had approximately 15 Rosenwald schools, including but not limited to Oakland School, Burgess School, Sunset School, Morning Star School, Crowson School,
Browns School, Wheatley Separate School, Rock Creek School, Jackson School, Dunbar School, Pretty Water School, Harlingsville School, and Blue Bell Separate School. These schools were eventually dissolved. The land was sold once a larger school developed that could serve a greater area and accommodate more students. In 1932 additional funds were gathered through the Rosenwald Fund and the Bristow Board of Education to construct the Lincoln School in Bristow, Oklahoma. It provided grade through high school education for African American students. Lincoln School ultimately closed with integration; many students transitioning to Bristow High School. Lincoln (High School) remains the only Rosenwald School still standing in Creek County. Erected 2023 by Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, Lincoln Alumni Association, City of Bristow.
Creek County Rosenwald Schools image courtesy of Excell Lafayette Jr.