Historic Rosenwald Schools of the South, Celebrated

Historic Schoolhouses of the South, Celebrated National Trust for Historic Preservation to host National Rosenwald School Conference in Durham  Washington (May 20, 2015) – The National Trust for Historic Preservation will host the 2015 National Rosenwald Schools Conference, “Sharing the Past, Shaping the Future,” from June 17 – 20 in Durham, N.C. The city and surrounding area will serve as a living laboratory with field tours, workshops, and seminars on documentation and preservation of Rosenwald Schools nationwide.

In 2002, the National Trust named Rosenwald Schools to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. That same year, the National Trust created the Rosenwald Schools Initiative to help raise awareness, provide training and resources, and assist in the preservation and rehabilitation of these aging school buildings.

“For more than a decade, the Rosenwald Schools Initiative has helped communities across the country restore and reuse these historic schoolhouses, which were the bedrock of the African-American K-12 education system in the days before Brown v. Board of Education” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

We are excited to bring this year’s conference to the City of Durham and look forward to collaborating with Rosenwald School alumni, historians, and preservationists to envision the future of these historic buildings.”The National Trust has also named Rosenwald Schools one of their National Treasures – a portfolio of nationally significant, highly threatened places for which the Trust works to find long-term preservation solutions. Another historic site in Durham included in the portfolio is the Pauli Murray House, which was added in March of this year.

The story of the historic Rosenwald Schools began with a strategic partnership between Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Co., and Booker T. Washington, renowned African-American educator and first president of Tuskegee University in Alabama. Rosenwald, who sat on the board at Tuskegee University, provided more than $4 million in seed money to build schoolhouses in 15 states. African American communities raised more than $4.7 million. By 1928, Rosenwald Schools accommodated one-third of all African-American children in rural schools. Beyond serving students, the schools became hubs of community activity and civic engagement.

Partnering with the National Trust to present, “Sharing the Past, Shaping the Future,” are the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Preservation Durham, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, the North Carolina Rosenwald School Coalition, Durham Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.Public: To learn more and register online for the conference, visit www.rosenwaldschools.com or call 843-266-2044. Deadline for online registration is June 10.Media: Registration for media is free. All press must provide press credentials to attend.

To register, please contact Jessica Pumphrey at jpumphrey@savingplaces.org. The deadline for media registration is June 15.Suggested Tweet: Sharing the Past, Shaping the Future: Get involved in the #Rosenwald Schools Initiative this June in Durham, NC. http://savingplac.es/1GpJa4O###About the National Treasures ProgramNational Treasures are a portfolio of highly-significant historic places throughout the country where the National Trust makes a long-term commitment to find a preservation solution. As the presenting partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged $6 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these cultural and historic places. For more information, visit www.savingplaces.org.

About the National Trust for Historic PreservationThe National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places. For more information, visit www.preservationnation.org

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