Top photo: 1932. Hoffschwelle, Preserving Rosenwald Schools.
Expanding the Vision
Above, the beautifully restored Ridgeley Rosenwald School in Maryland. 2019, photos by Matthew Palatnik. Click to enlarge and scroll through images.
“These schools also were the most architecturally advanced school plans of that time. The initial designers for the Rosenwald program included architect Robert Taylor, the first black graduate of MIT, (who was) considered the first professional black architect in America. George Washington Carver was the landscape designer." - Neale 
After the success of the first schools, Rosenwald agreed to fund hundreds more, with Tuskegee administering the program.
Rosenwald insisted that the state provide one-third of the funding and that schools were in-session 9-months a year.
"Other philanthropists had been interested in Negro education long before Julius Rosenwald appeared in the field. But he brought to the movement for Negro schools a crusading zeal and an unflagging interest that stimulated public money and co-operation to a degree previously unknown." - Embree and Waxman 
By coordinating grassroots fundraising among African-American communities in a highly-publicized way, and matching the funds raised, the Rosenwald fund undermined the efforts of local governments to suppress the education of black citizens. Additionally, the requirement that the government maintain the school once it was built prompted the creation of a public school system for the education of African-American children 
In addition to making education accessible to African-Americans in the South, the Rosenwald Program represented a "sea change" in the quality of the schools. The buildings were carefully designed and based on modern architectural knowledge, ensuring adequate ventilation, lighting, and sanitation. Classrooms were fully equipped with the furniture, books, and tools students needed for a proper learning environment. Teachers were trained and well-paid, and provided housing near the school. 
After Washington’s death in 1915, Tuskegee was unable to maintain the program; in 1919, the Rosenwald Fund took control over the schools' construction.
"5,295 model schools* for Negroes have been distributed over 877 counties in 15 Southern States, directly affecting a school constituency of over 650,000 pupils, but indirectly influencing the whole public school system of the South in the most constructive and humanitarian advance it has made in the last half generation. One shudders to think what would have been the present state of race relations had not these 5,000 beacons of light shone through the years." - New York Times, January 16, 1932 
(*5,295 total buildings were constructed. 4,977 of these were schools. The rest were teacher housing and shops.)
"A 1934 report, “The Development and Present Status of Negro Education in East Texas,” was quoted in a Texas Council for the Humanities article as stating, “Every Negro school visited, . . . except the Rosenwald schools, was housed in crude unpainted box shacks, with no foundation, . . . no desks, blackboard, no window shades, no library and no equipment.” - Texas Almanac 
Rosenwald Schools operated until the landmark Brown v. BOE decision (1954) abolishing segregation. Some stayed open for years as states fought the ruling. Many schoolhouses are still standing, used as community centers or declared National Landmarks.
The schools educated generations of African-Americans, preparing them for higher education and the challenges of racial inequity.
"When this school was built, there was a lot of pride, especially in the community. It was a new building, it wasn't an old building." - Marian Coleman, graduate of the Noble Hill School (as was her father). 2015, Emanuel. 
"It is doubtful if any American within the forty years of his active life has rendered to the nation service of greater or more lasting value than his." - Jan. 15, 1915, New York Times, Obituary for Booker T. Washington
“Oh, yes, you were expected to be somebody, our teachers wanted us to be contributors to society.” - Corinthia Ridgeley Boone (far right) who went on to earn a PhD in Philosophy and Counseling, in Heller. 
"The school prepared me for higher education, you were taught to learn all you can. What you know cannot be taken from you. They can take away your opportunity, we were told, but they can’t take away what you know.” - Leonora Gross (far left) a mathematical statistician who became the first high-ranking black woman administrator at the Census Bureau, in Heller.