First Formal School for Colored Youth in Newville
Johnnie Mae Anderson
After the Civil War, and the end of slavery, it seems that some funds were appropriated for the education of black children. Churches in the area organized the first colored schools in the vicinity of Newville and the schools were housed in these churches.
In the early 1890's, Mr. Abner Jackson came to Newville and organized a well-planned private school He had come from Tuskegee Institute where Booker T. Washington, the founder of the Institute advised his trained students to spread out across the state and organize schools to educate colored youth. The Jacksonian Enterprise School was successful and productive until the State of Alabama provided more funds for colored schools with standardization and organization through the counties. About that time Booker T. Washington had persuaded Julius Rosenwald, an east coast philanthropist to aid in providing educational opportunities for colored children in Alabama. He chose to build adequate schoolhouses. Two of these school buildings were granted for Henry County, one at Newville and the other in northwest Henry County west of Edwin and near Clopton in Dale County, this school was known as Bronx beat.
The old Newville Jacksonian School building, a stained rough plank structure, stood vacant for many years. It was located just south of the present First Baptist Colored Church. The county later built a new brick colored school on the site. This brick building still stands empty due to closing after segregation ended in Henry County. The land on the East Side of the road from the First Baptist Colored Church is where the farm home of the Trawick Family members stood who are listed in the 1895 Jacksonian Enterprise School Catalogue.
After the state took over the school funds, Professor Jackson moved on to Dothan and opened a private school that operated until his death in the 1940's. An account of Professor Jackson's school in Dothan can be found in the book entitled "The Wiregrass Warrior" by Roberta Hughes Wright and Dr. Charles H. Wright.
(Johnnie Mae Anderson is a native of the Newville area and is now a retired schoolteacher residing in Montgomery. She is a member of the HCHG (Henry County Historical Group).
Newville Rosenwald School
In 1894, the first known black school in Newville was organized and a building was built. The Jacksonian Enterprise School opened in May of 1894. Parents and patrons financially supported this school. The school library contained more books than any school in this part of the country. The school grounds included Store’s Grove, a circular grove of 104 oak trees with a 30-foot avenue running through the middle of it. Each tree was named in honor of a patron. In 1919, the Newville community requested assistance for the school. They received it from the Rosenwald Foundation. A new school was built and named Newville Rosenwald School. The Henry County Board of Education began to contribute to the finances of Newville Rosenwald School about 1922. During the late 1940’s Newville Rosenwald School became a high school. It was about this time that the original school burned down and a new building was constructed. In 1968, Rosenwald High School was closed.