As part of the ongoing research to discover the roots of the school and certify it as a Rosenwald school, Joyce Perdue Smith recently traveled to Tuskegee, Ala., to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Rosenwald Fund to help build black schools all over the South in the early 1900s.
Smith was joined by Jeanne Cyriaque, coordinator of African American History from the state department, and Mercer University Rosenwald School expert Ronald Knorr at the conference earlier in the month to celebrate the fund.
The fund established through cooperation between Booker T. Washington and former Sears-Roebuck Chairman Julius Rosenwald, to build schools around the country for black students at the time.
Along with experts about the schools, the fund also brought together former students and representatives of the schools built by the fund for the event in Tuskegee to learn more about the schools, the fund and the men who brought it all together a century ago to improve the lives of black children around the United States.
“I met some of the Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington descendants, purchased autographed books, and met other groups restoring their schools around the South,” Smith said of her time at the conference.
There are five known remaining school buildings in Georgia — one in Acworth, Cusseta, South Georgia and Bartow County’s Noble Hill School. Representatives from those schools joined this past weekend with Fairview organizers for a workshop about building relationships between their boards to promote future cooperation and information between them.
“We learned a great deal this weekend,” Smith said. “They’re going to work with us to help nail down an architect and also helped us with some fundraising ideas.”
Progress on the purchasing the school from the current property owners so it can be restored and turned into a community center are still under way. Smith said the foundation still requires $10,000 to meet their fundraising goal by Aug. 31.
The foundation is still also in the process of acquiring research and going through the steps to get the school officially recognized as a school built by the Rosenwald Fund. Smith said Ron Knorr’s visit from Mercer University provided the organization with the knowledge that it fits the architectural style of schools designed and built by the Rosenwald School, but that work is underway to get it officially declared.
“Although our remaining building has not been officially declared a Rosenwald (school), our historians say that it is,” she said. “Students from Kennesaw and the University of Georgia will be engaging to do thorough research.”
The school, built in 1924, was also built with matching funds from Floyd County Schools for the three-room, $4,500 structure.
Once the school receives its certification as a Rosenwald School, which Smith believes will eventually happen, it would join the few remaining that survive throughout the Southeast today out of 5,000 that were built between 1912 and 1932.
Those interested in donating to help the Fairview-E.S. Brown Foundation can visit www.fairviewbrown.org or mail checks to The Fairview School, 3 Central Plaza, Box 147, Rome, GA 30161.