Saturday I attended the dedication of the Hope School Community Center located on Hope Station Road near Prosperity, SC. This historic school is one of the few survivors of nearly 500 Rosenwald schools constructed in South Carolina between 1917 and 1932. Hope School served grades 1-8 in the African-American community for 28 years, from 1926 – 1954.
In the early 1900’s Junius Rosenwald was president of Sears Roebuck, and was instrumental in the development of their famous catalog. Rosenwald became interested in the state of education in the rural south, and developed a set of plans for schools that could be ordered and build easily, similar to the house plans that had been available through the Sears catalog. Rosenwald also provided funding for for many of the schools, targeting his efforts toward African-American communities in the south.
The Hope School was a two-room school built in 1925 on land donated by the Hope family. James H. Hope was state superintendent of schools from 1922-1946, and spearheaded many projects to reduce school funding disparities between wealthy and poor counties.