Tom Crosby oral history collection, 2006-2011

Department of Oral History


The Rosenwald Schools of South Carolina exhibit features as its center the forty-three oral history interviews forming the Tom Crosby Oral History Collection that describe the educational experiences of African Americans in South Carolina 1910s-1970s, most of whom attended Rosenwald schools and/or Allen University. Accessible from the Interviews tab, all interviews are available as transcripts and sound recordings. Interview synopses, with biographical data, precede each transcript link.

What is a Rosenwald school? In 1917, Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), President of Sears, Roebuck and Company, initiated the Julius Rosenwald Foundation which built more than 5000 schools, shop buildings and teachers’ houses for African Americans across the South. African Americans participated in the building of schools in their communities including land acquisition, fund raising, school management and curriculum. About 500 schools were built in South Carolina. The program ended in 1932, but many of the schools continued operating until desegregation in the early 1970s.

Click here to view the Rosenwald Schools of South Carolina Exhibit for a timeline, map, additional resources and more

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