Unless you study the history of one-room schools or the American south you may well never have heard of Julius Rosenwald. Rosenwald was the money man behind Sears and Roebuck and was the business mind behind them that made Sears a success. The son of Jewish immigrants from Germany, Rosenwald had great fellow feeling for African-Americans who also faced discrimination. He connected with Booker T. Washington and was a strong financial supporter of the Tuskegee Institute before broadening his goals. Working with Washington, Rosenwald financed a spree of building schools for African-American children all across the South. Learn more at the links below.
10 minute interview about effect of Rosenwald Schools
The Journal of the American Institute of Architects about effect of design of Rosenwald Schools
http://www.architectmagazine.com/design/culture/remembering-the-rosenwald-schools_o (see note below)
Note: This is nothing to do with Rosenwald really, but one innovation cited in the architecture article above is moveable partitions to create separate classrooms. As someone who went to a graded elementary with moveable partitions for the 4-5-6 grade, I feel compelled to speak up. I’m here to tell you that was NOT an innovation it was a TERRIBLE idea. You constantly hear the classes next to you, there is no sound dampening because it’s really a huge box of a room, and despite the fact that the rolling cabinets that made up our walls had multiple purposes (for example some of them were cabinets on one side and a white board on the back) there were just so many things you couldn’t do with them. The entire community sighed a great sigh of relief when the school finally found the money to wall them in and then replace the other wonderful design feature the flat roof – in Iowa – where it snows.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.