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A $750,000 grant from the National Park Service (NPS) will allow Auburn faculty members to continue their restoration of the Tankersley Rosenwald School in Hope Hull, Alabama.

The project’s team includes Gorham Bird, Junshan Liu and Hunter McGonagill of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Keith Hebert and Elijah Gaddis of the College of Liberal Arts and Danielle Willkens from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The research team was awarded the funds as part of the NPS’ African American Civil Rights grant program, which focuses on historic preservation of sites associated with the Civil Rights movement. Auburn’s award was a portion of more than $3 million given by NPS to fund projects in the state of Alabama.

Between 1914 and 1932, more than 5,000 Rosenwald schools were built across the rural South to advance the education of African American children. Through the leadership of Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee Institute, and the philanthropy of Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears & Roebuck, the Rosenwald Fund was created to build schools and improve education of African Americans in the largely segregated and rural South. Many of the existing Rosenwald schools in Alabama have fallen into disrepair and are at risk of ruin. 

The first stage of work was completed in recent years and allowed for the stabilization of the building, as well as historical research and gathering of community input on the project. This new phase will allow for structural repairs on both the interior and exterior of the building, including the replacement of doors and windows.