You Need a Schoolhouse
Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald, and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South
By Stephanie Deutsch
(Northwestern University Press, Hardcover, 9780810127906, 218pp.)
Publication Date: December 2011
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Washington, though widely admired, had weathered severe crises both public and private in his fifty-six years. He had dined with President Theodore Roosevelt and drunk tea with Queen Victoria, but he had also been assaulted on a street in New York City. He had suffered personal heartbreak, years of overwork, and the discouraging knowledge that, despite his optimism and considerable success, conditions for African Americans were not improving as he had assumed they would. From within his own community, Washington faced the bitter charge of accommodationism that haunts his legacy to this day. Despite their differences, the two men would work together well and their collaboration would lead to the building of five thousand schoolhouses. By the time segregation ended, the Rosenwald Schools that sprang from this unlikely partnership were educating one third of the South's African American children. These schoolhouses represent a significant step in the ongoing endeavor to bring high quality education to every child in the United States an ideal that remains to be realized even today.