Allen County Rosenwald School

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

Mary Garnett Richey says, "About five years ago was the first that I knew about our Rosenwald School."

Rosenwald Schools were built through out the south in the early twentieth century. A millionaire named Julius Rosenwald teamed up with Booker T. Washington to provide funding for the schools. The schools were built to provide education for black children living in the south.

Richey says, "There are not many of these schools left. We feel very fortunate that we have the building."

Kentucky once had 155 schools, including the Caney Fork School in Allen County.

Annice Conner says, "The school actually was built in 1921. I have here a copy of the July 2nd, 1921 Allen County School Board minutes. It was voted that a Rosenwald school would be built here, according to the recommendation."

The property was deeded in the 1800's. According to Annice Conner the property may have been deeded to a Phillip Shipley.

Mary Sears says, "I am interested in it because if the Phillip Shipley Mrs Conner is talking about, if he's the one who actually had the land donated to him, that was my grandfather."

Sears' mother taught at the Caney Fork school. She only has a few memories of her mother talking about the school.

"Of course she always talked about how they had to build the fires and all this stuff, when everybody talks about one-room schools."

Now these women and others have formed a committee to restore the schoolhouse. It could be used for a community center, Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities, or a black history museum. Sears says it's important to make today's children aware of the past.

"Oh I hope it makes them more interested, especially in Black History because the kids nowadays don't realize what people went through to get an education."

The Caney Fork School closed in 1936. At that time black students in Allen County were bused to a school in Scottsville. Schools were not desegregated until 1963. The committee is looking for ways to get funding to preserve the Caney Fork School.


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