Thinking Citizen Blog — “The 4978 Schools That Changed America” (the Rosenwald-Washington Partnership)
Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day
Today’s Topic: “The 4978 Schools That Changed America” (the Rosenwald-Washington Partnership)
Booker T. Washington (1856–1915) was a former slave who became the champion of black advancement via education and entrepreneurship during the Jim Crow era. Julius Rosenwald (1862–1932) was the son of German Jewish immigrants, who became part-owner and President of Sears Roebuck. Washington provided the plan and Rosenwald the money for the most ambitious and successful effort to improve the quality of the education of rural blacks between 1914 and 1950. For Rosenwald, “the horrors that are due to race prejudice come home to the Jew more forcefully than to others of the white race, on account of the centuries of persecution which they have suffered and still suffer.” Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
SHRINKING THE RACIAL SCHOOLING GAP
1. In 1900, “whites, on average, completed the 8th grade, while blacks only got to the 5th grade.”
2. The Washington-Rosenwald partnership shrank that gap from 3 years to 1 year.
3. But it wasn’t just the quantity of schooling. “Students who went to Rosenwald schools had higher IQ scores than kids who didn’t. They made more money later in life. They were more likely to travel to the North as part of the Great Migration. They lived a little bit longer. The women delayed marriage and had fewer kids. And crime rates in the area of the schools went down.” (third link below)
FIFTEEN STATES, ONE THIRD OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN, MATCHING FUNDS
1. “Eleven states of the former Confederacy as well as Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland. As a result of their collaboration, approximately one-third of African American children were educated in these schools.”
2. “The Rosenwald-Washington model required the buy-in of African American communities as well as the support of white governing bodies. Black communities raised more than $4.7 million to aid in construction, plus often donating land and labor. “
3. “Unlike other endowed foundations, which were designed to fund themselves in perpetuity, the Rosenwald Fund was intended to use all of its funds for philanthropic purposes. It donated more than $70 million (equivalent to $744,889,000 in 2019) to public schools, college, universities, museums, Jewish charities, and black institutions before the funds were
depleted in 1948.”
NB: The Rosenwald Fund also financed 25 YMCA-YWCAs for African Americans as well as providing grants to many black artists, performers, and writers including Marian Anderson, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON (1856–1915) — focus on economics, not politics
1. “Washington mastered the nuances of the political arena in the late 19th century, which enabled him to manipulate the media, raise money, develop strategy, network, push, reward friends, and distribute funds, while punishing those who opposed his plans for uplifting blacks.” (third link below)
2. “His long-term goal was to end the disenfranchisement of the vast majority of African Americans, who then still lived in the South.His legacy has been very controversial to the civil rights community, of which he was an important leader before 1915.” (ditto)
3. “After his death, he came under heavy criticism for accommodationism to white supremacy. However, a more balanced view of his very wide range of activities has appeared since the late 20th century. As of 2010, the most recent studies, “defend and celebrate his accomplishments, legacy, and leadership.” (ditto)
CLICK HERE FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS OF POSTS ARRANGED BY THEME
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.