Select Pictures of Hamilton Rosenwald School

Brief History of Rosenwald Schools

With the assistance of the Rosenwald Foundation, African-American schools were built between 1912 and 1932.  The Foundation started with a $25,000 gift from Julius Rosenwald to the Tuskegee Institute for support of teacher training.  Booker T.  Washington and Clinton J. Calloway persuaded Mr. Rosenwald to devote $2800 for a pilot program to build an African-American School.  The first schools were built in Alabama and eventually almost 5,000 schools were built.  North Carolina had 813 schools built, the most of any state.

 Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee Institute, and Julius Rosenwald, President of Sears Roebuck, financed and led the building of these schools.  By 1928, one-third of rural black children in the South were educated in Rosenwald Schools.  The Supreme Court decision of Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas made the Rosenwald schools obsolete.  As Black schools merged with White schools, Rosenwald schools were not used and many fell into disrepair.

More than 700,000 Black children were educated in Rosenwald Schools. The expenditures on education for Black children was severely lacking and below money spent on White children.  In 1915, In North Carolina, $7.40 was spent on each White child while $2.30 per Black child.  When a community decided to build a school, they had to raise money because the Rosenwald Fund did not pay for the entire school  But, the plans for a school were given to a community, hence the distinct and consistent design.

For a complete list of Rosenwald Schools in North Carolina, go to

Martin County has two Rosenwald Schools.  One is in Hamilton and the other is E.J. Hayes in Williamston.


Rosenwald School At Hamilton

The following information is taken from Hamilton Rosenwald School Preservation Story: Preserving the memories, the faces, and the place by Carol Shields. The book is no longer being published. 

In May of 2007, The Roanoke River Partners,, purchased the Hamilton Rosenwald School.  This was accomplished by the efforts of the community, the Conservation Fund, and generous donations from the community.  The Covington Foundation and Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation Preservation Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have contributed to the preservation of the historic school. 

The Rosenwald School in Hamilton was thought to have been built in 1914.  Other records indicate money was provided in 1918-1919 and 1920-1921 but this is thought to have been used for the expansion of the two-room addition. 

The school was known as the Hamilton Colored School and operated until 1960 when the Edna Andrews School opened.  It had grades 1-7.  Edna Andrews was named after a teacher at the Hamilton Colored School.


Each day began with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer.  Once a week, chapel was held, and they were expected to learn and recite Bible verses.  Glee Club was mandatory. 

There were no meals provided.  Toilets were outdoor privies. 

May Day was an annual celebration with parents bringing food.  There were games and the wrapping of a May Pole. 

The principal was known as the “Professor” and was known to be a disciplinarian.

Boys sometimes chopped wood and were expected to bring coal to heat the building. 

On September 11, 2010, over 100 people attended a celebration of the Hamilton Rosenwald School. 

For more detailed information about the Hamilton Rosenwald School, please visit .

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