Preservation Virginia has released its yearly list of endangered historical sites (read more at the Washington Post). This year, the list includes the Rosenwald Schools of Virginia.
According to Preservation Virginia’s website, “Rosenwald Schools often are overlooked as symbols of the 20th century advancements in African American education that they poignantly represent.” Compared to the more high profile sites that Preservation Virginia lists as endangered, such as Arlington National Cemetery, the Rosenwald Schools are much less well-known. Restoration of the small rural buildings, while modest in scope compared to other preservation projects, is typically the work of a small group of alumni and rarely finds much support from outside its immediate community. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has taken a leadership role in supporting these small scale, community-driven restoration projects, but even within the challenging field of historic preservation, these projects are uniquely difficult.
Let’s hope that Preservation Virginia’s press release leads to more success stories like the Scrabble School, a Rosenwald School in Rappahannock County, Virginia that was restored and reopened in 2009.
By Michael Rose