About RCTS

Self - Help Initiatives led to the creation of RCTS

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.


Randolph County Training School -- An American Institution 1919 - 1970

Two structures served as the main school building during the 51 year existence of the RCTS -- the first, a wooden 2-story building, the second, a concrete block single-story building. A wooden building known as "the shop", was used for agricultural and mechanical instruction and shop areas. Other buildings were added over the years to provide space for sports activities (the gymnasium), band practice, and elementary education.

The Original RCTS Building with the Student Body in front (more)

The 1949 RCTS Building (more)


The Randolph County Training School (RCTS) was authorized by the Alabama State Legislature in 1917. Construction began in 1919 and the school opened in the fall of 1920. Funding for the school's construction was provided by Blacks, Whites, the County, and the Julius Rosenwald Foundation. One of the earliest Rosenwald schools, the two-story school was constructed according to architectural plans drawn up by architect Robert Robinson Taylor and other Black builders on staff at historic Tuskegee Institute (now University). The school became the first school in Randolph County to offer schooling beyond elementary level for Blacks. It remained the only high school for Blacks until another high school for Blacks (Wedowee High School) was built in Wedowee, the county seat, in the late 1950s.

The school's mascot was the majestic bulldog