Second Union Rosenwald School Anniversary

11 Oct

Second Union SchoolOn Sunday, October 7, 2018, with more than 100 in attendance at the Central High School Cultural & Educational Complex, the Second Union Rosenwald School Museum celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Second Union Rosenwald School building. Keynote speaker for the dinner event, was Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives in Orange County, California. Mr. Morris, a descendant of both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, recounted the lives of both men, with an emphasis on their important contributions to education.

Rosenwald schools, recognized as the most important initiative to advance black education in the early 20th century, were built across the South to educate African-American children. They were the result of a collaboration between Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company. According to the Second Union Rosenwald School Museum, more than 360 such schools were built in Virginia, with 10 in Goochland.

Second Union Rosenwald School, established in 1918 on land once owned by S.B. Massie and his brother Mathew Massie, was built with contributions from the local community and the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Total cost was $2,000 for the two-room, two-teacher school which after educating numerous African-American children in the county’s Byrd District in grades one through seven, closed in 1959. In 2005, alumni of Second Union School and members of Second Union Baptist Church teamed with the Goochland County Historical Society to secure a Lowe’s grant to renovate the exterior of the building, install an HVAC system, and undertake electrical work. Also, in 2005, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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