PINE GROVE ROSENWALD SCHOOL
The Rosenwald rural school building program which began in 1912 was a major effort to improve the quality of public education for African Americans in the early 20th-century South. By 1928, one in every five rural schools for black students in the South was a Rosenwald school, and these schools housed one third of the region’s black school children. The Pine Grove School is an original Rosenwald School built in 1923.
The Rosenwald School Project was, at the time, the country’s best answer to improving the poor state of education for blacks in the rural South in the early 1900s. The goal of the project was to provide black children with safe, purpose-built, school buildings. Most southern counties provided few or no public school building for African American students. Therefore, they had to attend school in dilapidated structures with few amenities other than makeshift desks and benches.
Built in 1923, Pine Grove School is the last remaining Rosenwald School in Richland County. Through funding secured from the South Carolina Community Competitive Grant Program, Richland County Conservation Commission, and the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Preservation Fund through the Richland County Recreation Foundation, the Commission has worked diligently to restore the school to its original configuration and successfully created a historic community gathering place. In 2009, the school received its National Register designation and just recently received a Historic Preservation Award from the Historic Columbia Foundation.
The Richland County Recreation Commission will use the restoration of the Pine Grove School as an opportunity to educate the residents of Richland County about the historic integrity of our area and the need to preserve and acknowledge the historic landmarks that we have. Through the Pine Grove Rosenwald Restoration Project citizens will become educated about the significance of the school and the need to preserve our area’s treasures. Pine Grove will serve as an example of how history can successfully be restored, and in turn bolster community interest in local preservation initiatives.