New Exhibit: “Foundations of Hope”

“Celebrating a Century of Waynesboro’s Rosenwald School and its Community”

When Booker T. Washington, who had a vision to improve education facilities for rural African-American communities in the American South, joined forces with Julius Rosenwald (president of Sears, Roebuck & Co.) who was looking to find new ways to extend his philanthropic generosity, their partnership led to the creation of nearly 5,000 schools. In 1924, the local Black community in Waynesboro, as a product of their effort, determination, and fundraising, erected Basic School, built in conjunction with Rosenwald’s matching funds.

2024 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of Waynesboro’s Rosenwald School. It has been an important part of the community in its many iterations since 1924. A new exhibit called “Foundations of Hope: Celebrating 100 years of Waynesboro’s Rosenwald School and its Community” at the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation celebrates this milestone.

In collaboration with the Waynesboro Black History Museum, the Waynesboro Public Library, Waynesboro Parks and Recreation, and the Waynesboro Chapter of the NAACP, this exhibit highlights the Rosenwald school-building program and its visionaries as well as the early history of Waynesboro’s Rosenwald School as an educational institution and haven for the Black community during segregation. The exhibit also discusses the fate of the original building, how the school was used after integration, and how it is used today.  Finally, the exhibit showcases the biographies of several instrumental figures in the establishment of Basic School and early African-American education in Waynesboro.

Foundations of Hope is open from February24 and will be on display until October 2024, and can be seen at any time the museum is open (Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm). Admission is always free.


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