Photo Credit: National Park Partners
It is often said, when creative minds come together, they can make the impossible possible and the ordinary extraordinary. This is what happened when a mutual friend of Booker T. Washington, a former slave and founder of Tuskegee Institute was introduced to Julius Rosenwald, a German Jewish Immigrant and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company. A conversation sparked between the two and the idea of a collaboration began that would focus on schools for Black children called Rosenwald Schools.
Between 1917 and 1932 almost 5000 rural one, two- and three-room buildings known as Rosenwald Schools were built to serve 700,000 Black children in the South for over four decades. By 1928 one in every five schools operating in the South was Rosenwald schools. In Virigina all but four counties had at least one Rosenwald school. Rappahannock County had four Rosenwald Schools; Scrabble, Washington, Amissville and Flint Hill.
In 1968 the Scrabble School was closed. The grounds became the county dump and the building’s original use was lost but not forgotten. From the early 90’s to 2008 Frank Warner, a former student of Scrabble, led members of the community, many of whom were also alumni in an effort to save Scrabble. In 2002 the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Rosenwald Schools on the “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list and created a special initiative to help restore the schools. From 2008 to 2009 Scabble was restored and today is the African American Heritage Center and the Rappahannock Senior Center.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
- In Rappahannock County the Blacks built their schools
- Some thought leaders, change-makers and social justice icons that attended Rosenwald Schools were Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, Congressman John Lewis and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
- In 1967-1968 Scrabble was integrated and held classes for 1st graders only
- In 2014 A Childrens Interactive Exhibit Opened
- The site is family friendly and wheelchair accessible