Woodland School

Historic marker #2404 in McCracken County celebrates the history of the Woodland School, a Rosenwald School for African American children.

Over two decades, Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and CEO of Sears Roebuck, worked with Booker T. Washington, a prominent African American educator, to fund and construct over five thousand one room schoolhouses to serve African American communities across the south and southwest. The Julius Rosenwald Fund was officially established in 1917, but these schools were built from 1912-1932.

The exact beginning date for Woodland School is unknown. Records show that at least one student, Birdie Miller Reeves, started attending the school in 1918. Woodland School educated children in grades one through eight, and the name came from the location of the building, which was set back in the woods. The trees and other foliage provided a safe environment for the students. The structure of Woodland School consisted of a white one-room wooden building. The floor plan included two cloakrooms, a community room and kitchen, and one large classroom. The classroom space could accommodate about thirty desks.

The Rosenwald records indicate that Woodland received their funding in the budget year 1929-30. These records show that the school was planned as a one-teacher facility and a total cost of construction at $2,350. They also point to the sources of the funding for Woodland School: African Americans contributed $500.00, public funds equaled $1,650, and the Rosenwald Fund donated $200. The school closed in 1963. The next year, students from Woodland School were integrated into Lone Oak Elementary and Lone Oak High School, nearby, with white students. Other Rosenwald funded schools in McCracken County were the Grahamville School, Sanders School, and Union Station School.