Oak Grove School in Hale County near Gallion, AL (a historic Rosenwald School; listed on the NRHP)

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The Oak Grove School is a historic two-room Rosenwald School that was built to serve the local African-American community. The school was constructed in 1925 under the Julius Rosenwald School Building Fund program according to the designs of Samuel Smith from Tuskegee Institute. The cost of the school was $3000. Of that sum, African-Americans raised $1,400 while the State of Alabama contributed $900 and the Julius Rosenwald Fund contributed $700. The school was open until 1968. The building is now being used as a community heritage center. The Oak Grove School is included in The Rosenwald School Building Fund and Associated Buildings MPS that was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on March 03, 1998. The school is located 1/4 west of Highway 69 approximately 3.1 miles north of the intersection of Highways 69 and 80 in south Hale County (GPS coordinates 32.546417,-87.679667).

The Julius Rosenwald Fund was started by Julius Rosenwald, an American clothier, who became part-owner of Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1895, and eventually served as its president of the company from 1908 to 1922, and chairman of its Board of Directors until his death in 1932. He became interested in social issues, especially education for African Americans. The rural school building program for African-American children was one of the largest programs administered by the Rosenwald Fund. Over $4.4 million in matching funds stimulated construction of more than 5,000 one-room schools (and larger ones), as well as shops and teachers’ homes, mostly in the South. These schools, constructed to models by architects of Tuskegee College, became known as “Rosenwald Schools.” In some communities, surviving structures have been preserved and recognized as landmarks for their historical character and social significance.

Sources: 1) NRHP “Oak Grove School” Registration Form; 2) wikipedia

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