In 1857, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, ruled that Black Americans were not citizens and had no civil and other rights that could be protected under the constitution of the United States. This egregious legal interpretation was corrected by the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Civil War. Following the Civil War, Black Americans were forced into a state of semi-enslavement, a condition that was legalized in the infamous 1896 Plessey vs. Ferguson case. Between 1896 and the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Black Americans engaged in aggressive self-help initiatives (with the assistance of individuals like Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald) to build educational institutions and educate their children. With its founding in 1919, the Randolph County Training School (RCTS) became the center-piece of the self-help efforts of Black Americans in Randolph County, Alabama and remained so for the next 51 years.
Clockwise Identification of photos: U.S. Supreme Court Building; Tuskegee Institute President Dr. Booker T. Washington; RCTS 1919 School Building; RCTS 1949 School Building; U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Tanney; RCTS Students; Sears and Roebuck President and Philanthropist Julius Rosenwald; Blacks Donors at a School Building Fundraising Drive.
Photo Courtesy of Fisk University, Nashville, TN. This photo was taken shortly after construction of the school was completed, possibly by Julius Rosenwald himself.
The school was chartered by the State of Alabama in 1917, built between 1918 and 1919, and opened in 1920.