ANDERSON — The Rosenwald Schools were the brainchild of Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears and Roebuck, and Booker T. Washington.
The Rosenwald initiative, which began in 1912, was to build new school buildings for the African American communities throughout the United States. Over a 20-year period, Rosenwald would provide matching funds to build precisely designed buildings which would provide school buildings that enable the best environment for learning.
Because of the segregated school systems, in the early 1900s Anderson County had 19 schools throughout the county, most of which were two-teacher schoolhouses.
The Anderson County African-American community would take advantage of this initiative to construct 19 modern school structures between 1920 to 1930.
The Rosenwald Schools in Anderson County were Anderson County Training School, Pendleton; Belton School, Generostee School, Deep Creek School, Ebenezer School, Fork Grove School, Honea Path School, Rosenwald Jackson School, Mt. Able School, Mountain Springs School, Murray’s Grove School, New Light School, Northside School, Pendleton School, Pleasant Grove School, Reed Street School and Shop, Shiloh School, Shady Grove School and Welcome School.
Of the 19 schools in Anderson County, only three remain — Shiloh, New Light and Mountain Springs. Some remnants of the Anderson Training School and Reed Street survive. In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation put the Rosenwald schools on its top 10 endangered list.