Because white southern school boards routinely denied black taxpayers the funds necessary to construct black schools in the 1910's and 1920's African Americans pooled their limited resources and embarked on programs of school construction. Sharecroppers who had been born slaves donated their meager life saving so their grandchildren could have an education. Even people without children mortgaged their homes and lands to fund the schools. Occasionally assisted by funds from white philanthropists such as Julius Rosenwald or sympathetic white neighbors, the outside funding never exceeded 12 percent of overall building funds.
In the 1920's and early 1930's African Americans continued to build schools and by 1932, the self-help movement had erected 3,464 schools in 880 southern counties.
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