The Power of You
I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed. Booker T. Washington, Up From Salvery
This is the unique story of three Notasulga, Alabama historical landmarks–a school, a church and a cemetery that are listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The schoolhouse was one of the first Rosenwald schools built in the south. “Rosenwald School” was the name informally applied to schools, shops and teacher’s homes built primarily for the education of African Americans in the early twentieth century.
Often Black America's history has been undocumented and continues to be lost. The Shiloh story should never be lost.
The Shiloh Rosenwald School is located in the small town of Notasulga, Alabama in Macon County which is between Montgomery and Auburn, Alabama. The Shiloh Rosenwald School is locally and nationally significant in education given its role in in realizing the vision of Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears & Roebuck so that black children in the South were provided an education during the age of Jim Crow, lawful segregation in the South. The Rosenwald Fund was not a handout. The Shiloh Community provided the land, labor and funds to operate the School. Students were not only provided an education but the determination and desire to one day pursue a college degree at Tuskegee University or even Harvard University. Also, the School is nationally significant for the unknowingly role in the 40 year U.S. Public Health Service Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. The Shiloh School operated from 1922 – 1964 and when closed , the State of Alabama deeded the School and Land to the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church which maintained and preserved the School building until the Shiloh Community Restoration Foundation was formed. Subsequently, the Church deeded the School and Land to the Foundation.
Behind the walls of the Shiloh-Rosenwald School there was determination for a bright future while outside men gathered to wait for a bus to Tuskegee that would inevitably take their futures away.
The Shiloh School was at the center of the Syphilis Study. The men unknowingly involved in the infamous 40-year syphilis study conducted by the U.S. Government often waited across from the School for transportation to Tuskegee and Eunice River, the Shiloh School nurse was hired and worked on the Study for most of its existence. The Shiloh Rosenwald school stands to become another lost remnant as many of the “Rosenwald Schools” have been torn down. We need your donations to ensure that the story of The Shiloh Rosenwald school is inextricably woven into the hearts and minds of every American.
A Rare Historical site connected to the Syphilis Study
A large oak tree stands in front of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Notasulga, Alabama. Participants in the U.S. Public Health Study of Untreated Syphilis in Negro Males in Macon County, Alabama would meet under this tree to wait for nurse Eunice Rivers, the Shiloh school nurse, to provide them with medications, update health histories or transport them to Tuskegee for “treatment.” Nurse Rivers was an integral part in the horrific study that lasted from 1932 to 1972 as she had been employed to solicit male participants. The Public Health Service started working with the Tuskegee Institute in 1932. Investigators enrolled in the study over 600 impoverished sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama. Approximately 400 of those men had syphilis and the remaining 200 plus did not have the disease. The men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance, for participating in the study. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood”, a local term for various illnesses that include syphilis, anemia, and fatigue. Approximately 50 members of the Shiloh Church were enlisted to receive treatments for the “bad blood.” None of the men were ever told the true nature of their disease nor were they offered any treatment, even after penicillin was available. Many of the men are buried in the Shiloh Cemetery.