Back in the summer of 2017, I started researching Booker T. Washington because I was planning a trip to his home place, a plantation in western Virginia which has been turned into a national historic site. My research led me down some unfamiliar but intriguing paths. One of those paths, Booker T’s association with Rosenwald schools, connected with a well-worn path near my hometown of Creswell, NC.
The more I read about Rosenwald schools and Washington’s joint plan with Julius Rosenwald to ‘normalize’ education for blacks in the Jim Crow South, the more I wanted to know. And the more I knew I had to incorporate my discoveries into a work of fiction.
Fast-forward a few months and my first romance novella, History Lessons, was born. The video below is my visit to a Rosenwald school near where I worked in Charlotte NC. The state of North Carolina received more than 800 school buildings, the lion’s share of the more than 5,000 that were built in the South during the early to mid 1920s. According to one source: By 1928, one-third of the South’s rural black school children and teachers were served by Rosenwald Schools.
My Great Aunt Rosetta taught at the Cherry Colored School, near my parents’ home, that I feature in my novella. Read more about it here: http://bit.ly/historylessonsnovella