In the first part of the twentieth century, with Jim Crow in full effect in southern states, before there was any pretense of the equal in “separate but equal,” it was up to African-American communities to take on the responsibility of educating their children. (In the North, there was a pretense.) A half-century earlier, custom and law prohibited teaching slaves to read and write. Taxpayer funding for segregated public schools in the South mostly went to white kids; white schools received more than five times the per-student funding as black schools. (In Mississippi the ratio was thirteen to one.) African-American citizens paid taxes, but were effectively barred from voting.
A black educator and a Jewish business entrepreneur joined together to do something about it.Continue reading “Rosenwald Schools”