The Shiloh School At The Center Of History
Imagine an elementary school without electricity, indoor plumbing or a heating or air-conditioning system, but with dedicated parents and teachers, children never late for school, used text books, used desks, well water, pot belly stoves, outhouses, a piano and a determination to be the best. First, Second and Third grade was taught in one classroom. Fourth, Fifth and Sixth grade was taught in the other area of the room that was separated by an accordion door. The School motto: “Good, better, best never let it rest until the good gets better and the better is best. Don’t settle for anything less.” Children walked to school on unpaved dirt roads and the excitement of an educational opportunity was contagious and celebrated by the parents. This community treasure still stands tall.
A typical school day began at 8:00 am after children had completed early morning chores such as feeding chickens or milking cows and after the school day ended, children performed chores such as chopping or picking cotton, and then completing daily homework. The day ended at 3:00 pm. In addition to the mandatory three “Rs” reading, riting (writing) and rithmetic (arithmetic), every child gained invaluable lessons regarding respect, responsibility and resolve. Children were exposed to weekly movies for a fee of ten cents, songs played on the piano, and school assemblies (stand up in front and talk).
The current school is rebuilt on the same site as one of the first six Rosenwald Schools built in Notasulga, Alabama.
Trustee Board of the First Rosenwald School, Notasulga, Alabama
Jeanes Program is introduced and a front room is added for adult education.
The school is used as a gathering place for the men involved in the U.S. Public Health Study of Untreated Syphilis in Negro Males.
1964 - December
Segregation ends and the Shiloh School is closed. African American students are bused to an integrated school in the town of Notasulga.
1965 - July
George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, signs the deed on behalf of the state and conveys the land Shiloh School sits on to the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
1965 - 2005
The Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church preserves and maintains the school.
The Rosenwald Schools are put on a list of eleven endangered places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Shiloh School is confirmed as a Rosenwald School and the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church approves a project team to begin restoration and preservation of the school.
2006 - September
The Shiloh Rosenwald School is designated by the State of Alabama as a historic landmark to assure long-term preservation.
2006 - October
The Shiloh Community Restoration Foundation is formed as a tax exempt organization.
2008 - February
The Shiloh School is featured in the Alabama Public Television documentary Alabama Stories "Rosenwald Schools" produced and narrated by Rhonda Calvin.
2010 - August
The Shiloh School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered a national treasure.
Shiloh School Today
The original Shiloh-Rosenwald school was built based on the Tuskegee design and was a two room-two teacher school.
The Tuskegee design adopted by many Rosenwald Schools, including Shiloh-Rosenwald, used architectural plans that made the most of natural light and provided for ventilation and air circulation. The Tuskegee plans ranged from one teacher to seven teacher schools. The Shiloh School is a two room-two teacher design which features an accordion folding door to separate the rooms and windows facing East and West. The school was built on pillars to promote air circulation and increase ventilation.
The original school featured outdoor boy’s and girl’s restroom facilities known as “out houses” and still remain on the grounds. Drinking water was provided by a well that was constructed atop a hill adjacent to the school.
Recreation consisted of a playground in the backyard area with a swing set and space to play softball, horseshoes, hop scotch and jump rope.