A coffee and cake reception will be held at CBC Lott Canada Facility on Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. in honor of the National Trust for Historical Preservation and Lowe’s for funding a restoration project. Everyone is invited.
The $25,000 project included a new roof; repairs to the roof edge and drip edge; painting of roof and window trim; and termite control. It was made possible by a National Trust for Historic Preservation grant funded by the Lowe’s Charitable Educational Foundation Preservation fund. The new roof will protect the old Lott-Canada School from further water damage from leaks.
Lowe’s provided a $2 million grant to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to save 15 “Rosenwald schools” from permanent disrepair and, through adaptive reuse, to transform them into once-again vibrant facilities in their communities.
Coastal Bend College Lott Canada Facility is one of two Texas school buildings to benefit from this grant cycle. Columbia Rosenwald School in West Columbia is the other. Additional schools included in this cycle are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
CBC Lott Canada Facility is the continuing education and adult basic education center for Coastal Bend College. It also houses a museum exhibit that tells the history of the building and its former students.
CBC Lott Canada Facility is located in proximity to Jones Chapel and Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, historical African-American churches built by former slaves and their descendants, and the Jackson School, a historically segregated school for Beeville’s Mexican-American youth (used today as Beeville Independent School District’s special education center). All four places are designated as Texas historical landmarks and draw heritage tourists to an underserved section of the city.
Each is currently used for its intended purpose as a center for education and worship and is source of pride for the community. Beevillians have shown great dedication in preserving the school. Former students return to it every two years for a reunion that attracts more than a thousand visitors. The Lott-Canada Alumni Association has been a part of the rehabilitation project since the beginning.
Rehabilitation of the Lott-Canada School ensures that it will continue to be a place of learning, for adults who attend classes there and schoolchildren who ask, “Why did the black and Hispanic kids have to go to different schools than the white kids?”
“In a time of great racial inequality, Julius Rosenwald worked with communities across the South and Southwest to improve educational opportunities for African-Americans said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. These schools represent a critical link to our national heritage, and we are pleased to work with Lowe’s in preserving these important places that tell America’s story,” Moe explained.
In 1912, Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington partnered to pilot a rural school building program for African-Americans in Alabama. The Rosenwald Fund ultimately provided $4.7 million in grants, and African Americans donated an additional $4.7 million to build state-of-the-art school facilities across the country between 1918 and 1932. Today, these buildings are called “Rosenwald Schools.”
At the heart of many African-American communities, these schools served as community centers and meeting spaces. When the program concluded in 1932, more than 5,300 schools, vocational shops and teachers’ homes had been constructed in 15 states across the South and Southwest.
“The role Rosenwald schools played in the educational and civic lives of communities throughout the South cannot be underestimated,” said Larry D. Stone, chairman of the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “Preserving these historic structures and returning them to be valuable gathering places is important to our nation’s history and the communities where they are located – both worthy goals Lowe’s is proud to continue to support.”
In 1954, the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas Supreme Court decision caused most remaining Rosenwald schools to close. Once closed, these hallmarks of early 20th century African American educational progress and community life fell victim to changing times.
Today, no more than 10 to 12 percent of Rosenwald schools are estimated to remain standing. Fewer still are used as learning centers. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Rosenwald schools to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2002.
For more information on Rosenwald schools, please visit www.rosenwaldschools.com.
Lowe’s is a proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity International, American Red Cross, United Way of America, and the Home Safety Council, in addition to numerous non-profit organizations and programs that help communities across the country. In 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $27.5 million to support community and education projects in the United States and Canada. Lowe’s also encourages volunteerism through the Lowe’s Heroes program, a company-wide employee volunteer initiative. Lowe’s is a FORTUNE® 50 company with fiscal year 2008 sales of $48.2 billion and has more than 1,650 stores in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit Lowes.com/community.
National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (http://www.preservationnation.org/) is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, nine regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in all 50 states, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.