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Loachapoka School, Lee County, Alabama

Photographed by Andrew Feiler2021

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Atlanta, United States

Loachapoka School--Lee County, Alabama, 1913-1958

The very first Rosenwald school to open was the Loachapoka School in Lee County, Alabama. It was part of a pilot launched by Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald in 1912 to test the idea of building schools for African American children. The pilot consisted of six schools, all of which were close to Tuskegee Institute where Washington's staff could oversee the program.

The Rosenwald school program was innovative and sophisticated. It was rooted in Washington and Rosenwald's belief that success required the local Black community to be a full partner in its school. If the African American community would contribute to a school, which could include contributions of cash, land, materials, and labor, Rosenwald would make a substantial contribution toward construction. The grants, however, required that the local White school board agree to own, maintain, and staff the school. Over time these arrangements led to significant public investment in many Rosenwald schools. The program was intentional in fostering the beginnings of a new Black/White dialogue as another footing for future progress.

This Loachapoka community was one of the first to meet the match requirements for a school. The building's total cost was $942.46. The local Black community contributed $150, to buy the land, as well as labor, which was valued at $132.46. Local Whites donated $360, and Rosenwald contributed $300. The schoolhouse was dedicated on May 18, 1913. It served African American students until it closed in the late 1950s. In 1960 the building was destroyed by fire.

About the photographer: Andrew Feiler

Andrew Feiler is a fifth generation Georgian. Having grown up Jewish in Savannah, he has been shaped by the rich complexities of the American South. Andrew has long been active in civic life. He has helped create over a dozen community initiatives, serves on multiple not-for-profit boards, and is an active advisor to numerous elected officials and political candidates. His art is an extension of his civic values.

Andrew's photographs have been featured in such publications as Smithsonian, Wall Street Journal, Architect, Preservation, Slate, Lenscratch, Oxford American, and The Bitter Southerner. His work has been displayed in galleries and museums including solo exhibitions at such venues as the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Octagon Museum in Washington, D.C., International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, NC, and Burrison Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His work is in a number of public and private collections including that of Atlanta University Center and Emory University. More of his work can be seen at andrewfeiler.com.

Details

  • Title: Loachapoka School, Lee County, Alabama
  • Creator: Photographed by Andrew Feiler
  • Date Created: 2021
  • Location Created: Lee County, Alabama

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