Rosenwald Schools: Photos from the NC State Archives

Take a trip to the 1920s when Rosenwald Schools were being constructed across the south.

The photographs in this collection depict construction efforts and building progress, newly completed buildings, and damaged buildings or buildings in disrepair. Students and local residents, contractors and builders, though rarely identified, are occasionally pictured.

Of significance are many African American schools constructed with assistance from the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Many of these schools did not survive and are not documented among the photographs in the Rosenwald Fund archives at Fisk University.

Of particular interest: photos of the Mars Hill School, circa 1928-1929:




If you want to get an understanding of how important these schools were, take a look at these images that include members of the community.


Photograph of African American children and teachers outside the St. Paul’s School, a Rosenwald Fund school, with a new addition, Robeson County [c. 1925-1930].



Photograph of a group of unidentified African American men on the steps of the Marion Graded School, a Rosenwald Fund building, McDowell County [c. 1921-1922].



Photograph of “Pea Hill citizens,” African American men at the Pea Hill School, a Rosenwald Fund school, Northampton County [c. 1919-1920].



Photograph of unidentified African American men at the Sloop Point School, a Rosenwald Fund school, Pender County [c. 1921-1922].



Photograph of an unidentified Black female, probably a teacher or principal, an unidentified white male probably affiliated with the Caswell County school system, and Nathan C. Newbold, director of the N.C. Division of Negro Education (right) at the Yanceyville African American School commencement, April 2, 1929.



Photograph of unidentified Black students, parents, teachers or principals, at Yanceyville School commencement, Caswell County, April 2, 1929.


This collection from the State Archives of North Carolina represents a sample of photographs from the Department of Public Instruction Record Group, School Planning Section, and School Photographs Files.

View the collection of more than 900 photographs at

The State Archives is part of Archives and Records, a Division of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (view the department’s webpage at Please visit the official website of the State Archives of North Carolina at