Hope School Community Center – Pomaria, South Carolina
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The Hope School Community Center, originally called the Hope Rosenwald School, is located in Newberry County near Pomaria. It was built in 1925 and used as a school for African-American children until the US Supreme Court ruled against separate but equal laws in 1954.
Between 1917 and 1932, over 5,000 schools were built in the rural South to educate African-American children. They were called Rosenwald Schools in honor of Julius Rosenwald, then president of Sears and Roebuck, who provided the majority of funds for their construction.
During the 1950s, South Carolina began a “separate but equal” building spree in an effort to forestall integration. While the Hope School predates the SC Equalization School building spree, its history is similar to many of the schools built during this era.
After the Hope School closed, it was used by the church next door as storage and meeting space. Locals and alumni began a restoration effort in 2007, and in 2009 the school was rededicated as Hope School Community Center.
Learn more about other Rosenwald Schools and SC historically black schools.
The Hope Rosenwald School is listed in the National Register, which adds the following information:
The Hope Rosenwald School is significant for its role in African-American education and social history in South Carolina between 1925 and 1954, and as a property that embodies the distinctive features of a significant architectural type and method of schoolhouse construction popular throughout the southern United States in the early twentieth century. Like other Rosenwald schools, the Hope Rosenwald School can trace its origins to the contentious debate over the education of southern African-Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
While the end of the American Civil War had brought about state-initiated funding and operation of some local schools for black children in the South, the policies emphasizing racial segregation during the Jim Crow era left southern blacks with few opportunities for a truly complete primary education and even fewer secondary school options. Among those who sought a method for insuring that black educational opportunities in the South might be improved was Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears & Roebuck and a trustee of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. At the request of Booker T. Washington, Rosenwald began a school building fund to benefit southern African-Americans, especially those in rural regions, and from 1917 to 1932, Rosenwald’s program led to the construction of more than 5300 public schools, teachers’ homes, and instructional shops in fifteen southern states, nearly 500 of which were located in South Carolina.
Hope School Community Center Info
Address: 1917 Hope Station Road, Pomaria, SC 29126
Hope School Community Center Map
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