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Valley Rewind: Swannanoa's Rosenwald School

Courtesy of Swannanoa Valley Museum
Special to Black Mountain News
By 1928, one-third of the South’s rural Black school children and teachers were served by Rosenwald Schools. One of these schools was in Swannanoa. This photograph shows the school and some of its students in the 1930s.

The Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center continues its celebration of Black History Month with a 1930s photograph of African-American students and principal James Thaddis Sapp (far right) at Swannanoa’s Rosenwald School. Swannanoa Valley Schools were segregated well into the 1960s. Julius Rosenwald, the son of a German-Jewish immigrant and a part owner of Sears, Roebuck, and Co., contributed matching donations through the Rosenwald Fund to fund more than 5,000 schools nationwide for the education of African American students. By 1928, one-third of the South’s rural Black school children and teachers were served by Rosenwald Schools, including this one located in Swannanoa. The Rosenwald school was not the first to serve African-American children in Swannanoa. According to a March 3, 1899, issue of The Asheville Register, two schools were serving Black students in the town, with a total enrollment of 41 students.