Rosenwald Schools and the Intergenerational Mobility of Blacks and Whites: Evidence from North Carolina

Abdul Raheem Shariq Mohammed, University of Michigan
Paul Mohnen, University of Michigan

In the early 20th century, Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald established the Rosenwald Fund, a school construction program aimed at improving educational opportunities of black children in the rural South. Between 1913 and 1932, over 5,000 schools were built across 15 Southern states, making it the largest educational initiative of its kind at the time. This project will assess the impact of Rosenwald schools on long-run labor market outcomes of blacks and whites, including measures of intergenerational mobility, using a new longitudinal dataset of birth records linked to Census records. We will explore this question in the context of North Carolina, the largest recipient of Rosenwald schools among all Southern states. Preliminary evidence is consistent with the notion that Rosenwald schools led to greater funding for white schools.

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 Presented in Session 250. Race, Cities, and Citizenship