In 1917, Jacob W. Williams arrived in the Hope Hull community and established a school for Black children. Under the leadership of the Negro Community Trustees Board, the school operated in the old Pythian Masonic Hall. However, overcrowding in the hall dictated the need for a separate schoolhouse. The school board required ﬁfteen acres to build a school, and local citizens worked diligently with education oﬃcials to raise funds to purchase the ﬁrst ﬁve acres from Dr. William Tankersley, a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education at the time. Citizens then acquired the additional ten acres that adjoined the original acreage. The Black community provided $1,500, the public $2,800, and the Julius Rosenwald Fund $1,000. In 1922, the community successfully constructed the two-teacher-type Tankersley Rosenwald School for Black children in grades one through six. The school served the community until 1967, when the board of education closed it due to integration. The school was listed in the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on June 13, 2003, and in the National Register of Historic Places on January 22, 2009.
In recent years, the Tankersley Rosenwald School has suﬀered damage from storms and deferred maintenance. A small but dedicated group of boosters is committed to the school’s survival. The building is highly threatened due to a signiﬁcant collapse of the roof, rafters, and ﬂoor in one of the classrooms. Lack of attention to the problem will lead to the complete failure of the structure and the unfortunate loss of one of the two remaining Rosenwald schools in Montgomery County. In the summer of 2021, Auburn University documented the school using 3D scan technology, which visually depicts both the signiﬁcance of the structure and the extent of the damage to it.
Alabama's Endangered Historic Landmarks
Each year since 1994, Alabama Heritage has highlighted threatened historic sites throughout Alabama. The “Places in Peril” list has identified more than 215 imperiled historic resources throughout the state, and is compiled by the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation. The locations highlight the results of deferred maintenance, perceived obsolescence, development pressures, and lack of funding—forces that now more than ever threaten our cultural legacy. But awareness is a powerful force, too, and can cultivate a renewed determination to be responsible stewards of our heritage. For more information, visit the AHC or the ATHP websites. Alabama Heritage is proud to bring to you a selection of the places designated as perilous. Please keep your comments to information relevant to the featured place in peril. Alabama Heritage reserves the right to delete any comment that we deem inappropriate.