Many know Oxford, Georgia as home to Emory College. However, many people don’t know that Oxford also used to house a Rosenwald school. Many of the alumnus from the school are still alive today and love to share their stories of their time at the school.
Julius Rosenwald created Rosenwald schools after witnessing a race riot in 1908. He teamed up with Broker T. Washington, and together they created 4,977 schools. Although the school in Oxford, Georgia is no longer standing, it left an unforgettable mark on its students.
The impact it left inspired some Rosenwald alumni to create a float dedicated to the school for Oxford’s 175th celebration. Vivian Harris said, “This [the float] was my dream. I started with cardboard and then an angel picked up the project.” Newton County’s The Center teamed up with the alumni to create an impressive float.
This float commemorates the happy memories the alumni had at Rosenwald. When I was speaking to them, every person only had happy memories. Anderson Wright said “I received a lot of inspiration from the teachers to better my life. I was a little wild at the time.”
The Rosenwald schools were staffed with African American educators. Most of these educators received degrees from Tuskeegee Institute. Waymon Cooksey remembers how the educators impacted him. He stated, “they were good, nice teachers and the principal was a good person.”
The teachers of Rosenwald helped build the students into a family. Vivian Harris said, “We were nothing but family at the school.” You could feel the love at the maintenance warehouse were the alumni built the float. As they passed around stories about their times at Rosenwald, you couldn’t help but smile listening to them.
If you would like to see the magnificent float being built by the alumnus, you should visit Oxford, Georgia’s 4th of July celebration. The float brings to life memories of the young, happy children that once attended the school.