HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – You may be familiar with the Huntsville city views and historic museum at Burritt on The Mountain. But there are also educational programs, teaching students about the Jim Crow era in the south.
More than 100 years later, elementary school students are pledging to learn about the history of the south.
“I want you to look around and tell me some things that are different in my classroom from your classroom,” says Mrs. Hyde, one of the teachers.
They’re experiencing life as a student back in 1918, during segregation – learning in a replica of a Rosenwald Schoolhouse.
“Long story short, together they created a foundation that would partner with the African American communities at the time of the Jim Crow South, in the early 1900’s and they would build schools,” said Caroline Buncick from Burritt on The Mountain.
Through a collaboration between Julius Rosenwald, a Jewish philanthropist and black educator Booker T. Washington, nearly 5,000 new schools were built to help further education and opportunities for African Americans.
“This is the only replica schoolhouse that is actually being used in the way that they were being used at the time,” Buncick said.
Now, students can take field trips – to learn the role Rosenwald schools played in history.
“There are so many reasons why it’s important, they learn about the collaboration between the races, they learn about the terrible ethics of the time, the reason that the schools were separate,” Buncick said.
During the school day, they walk in the shoes of a black child going to a Rosenwald school in the early 19th century.
“They learn all about the advancements and the progress that’s been made and the struggle that went into making that progress,” said Buncick.
They are hoping to help children to value history and education.
“Maybe someone will understand and grasp the importance and appreciate their education more,” she said.
This week’s Explore The South follows a group of fourth-graders on their field trip to learn what life was like in for a black child during segregation in 1918. Watch the full video above.