St. John’s Rosenwald School receives over $100K in grants

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 4:43 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A historic African-American school in Albemarle County is undergoing a transformation.

The Saint John Rosenwald School was build in the early 1920s. It’ll be turned into the Saint John Family Life and Fitness Center thanks to a more than $100,000 from the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Grant.

“This is where education started for us, we begun our education here. It was very rewarding,” Saint John Family Life and Fitness Center President Rebecca Kinney said.

Kinney was a student at the school in the early 1950s, before it closed. More than 300 Rosenwald schools were built in Virginia, with seven located in Albemarle County. Kinney says these schools were a product of segregation.

“It was a tool at one time that was used to separate, but now it’s going to be a tool that we use to unite people, and that’s going to be the legacy,” she said.

Kinney says this project has been in the works since 2002, and those behind it are striving to keep as much of the original building as possible: Roughly 85% of the original building, from the floors to the doors and ceilings, are still in tact.

Only two Roenwald schools in Albemarle County will be open to the public, including this one.

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