The School Then & Now a Historical Museum

The initial School ( two room/two teacher) was built with two Class Rooms that were separated with a folding accordion type door. The Tuskegee design placed a battery of windows that were on the East and West side of the Building to maximize the effect of natural light in the interior. The School building was placed on short piers for ventilation and moisture control. The School building did not have electricity and therefore was heated with a Pot Belly Stove that initially used wood and later coal. A ” Drinking Water Well” was constructed on top of a small hill adjacent to the School. The School did not have indoor plumbing and therefore boy and girl privies also known “Out Houses” were constructed in a wooded area behind the School yard.

The School provided a strong foundation for every child who was instilled with the value of an education and the value of family. The early learning was that regardless of the color of your skin, education is the one gift that nobody can ever take away. The School day began at 8:00 AM and concluded by 3:00 PM. Most children performed chores prior before and after school such as picking/chopping cotton, feeding chicken or milking cows. There were no school buses so students walked to School. Other than, Alabama Highway 81, which was the main road, most of the other roads were dirt roads. It was not unusual for a child to walk thru the woods clinging to a book bag and a brown paper lunch bag or metal lunch box.

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The Shiloh Rosenwald School was designed to maximize learning. The teachers who lived in the nearby community were very dedicated and responsible for two grades. Windows faced east and west to maximize daylight and warmth during the winter months. The large wood-burning stove used coal and wood. The School did not have indoor bathrooms, running water or air-conditioning system. An outside well provided drinking water and the outdoor bathrooms or privies were in the rear of the school. A playground in the backyard area had swing set and space to play softball, hop scotch, horseshoes and jump rope.

Children were never late for School. Students were prepared to compete with students anywhere and reminded that one day they could attend Tuskegee University or even Harvard University. The Blackboard was used to teach the three Rs – reading, riting and rithmetic plus respect especially for your elders, responsibility and resolve. The piano was played weekly and movies were shown at least monthly for a nominal fee of ten cents. No student, regardless of economic well-being was ever left behind. Parents, teachers and neighbors assumed responsibility for every child in the School.