WOOD COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A film to be shown in an East Texas church highlights the importance of an early 20th-century movement to build schools in the rural south, called Rosenwald Schools.
Rosenwald schools were the result of a partnership between Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute, and Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears-Roebuck. The two men partnered to bring excellent schools in the early 20th century, specifically for black students. According to savingplaces.org, "The effort has been called the most important initiative to advance black education in the early 20th century."
There were thousands of these schools built between 1862 and 1932 in Southern states. Eight of them were built in Wood County, Texas: Fauke, Hawkins, Lloyd, McMillan, Muddy Creek, Reinhardt, Webster, and Winnsboro. While in use, the schools were often considered the pride of their small communities.
After schools were integrated from 1954 going forward, the Rosenwald schools became obsolete, and many were torn down. In Wood County, the only remaining school is the Fauke School, which is used as a community center.
According to the Mineola Historical Museum, two ladies with ties to Mineola, Ms. Jewell McCalla and Ms. Withell Hall, both attended these schools.
The museum announced that the film, Rosenwald: The Remarkable story of a Jewish partnership with African-American Communities, will be shown in celebration of Black History Month. The film is being shown in partnership with the Wood County Historical Commission.