The Journal of Negro History/Volume 7/Number 2/Notes

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By aiding the education of Negroes in rural communities with the assistance of State governments and of Negroes themselves Mr. Julius Rosenwald has been making an important chapter in the history of this race during the last generation. The significance of this achievement is apparent when one merely glances at these statistics:

1223 buildings (2812 teachers).
Total Cost $4,012,923
Negroes $1,139,165
Whites 277,668
Public Funds 1,840,210
Rosenwald aid 755,880

These schoolbuildings have been built in the States as follows: Alabama 234, North Carolina 175, Mississippi 145, Louisiana 136, Tennessee 114, Virginia 105, South Carolina 73, Arkansas 54, Georgia 53, Kentucky 52, Texas 50, Maryland 16 and Oklahoma 15.

By types these buildings include:

357 one-teacher
464 two-teacher
191 three-teacher
106 four-teacher
39 five-teacher
32 six-teacher
5 seven-teacher
5 eight-teacher
1 nine-teacher
2 ten-teacher
1 eleven-teacher
1 twelve-teacher
1 sixteen-teacher
18 Teachers' Homes

The fact that over $4,000,000 has been invested in these buildings is worthy of comment as is the added fact that more than one-fourth of this large total has been raised by the Negroes themselves. While the figures are of buildings which have been actually completed, it is well to note that there are in progress now, some of them nearly finished and all of them to be finished before June 30, 1922, other buildings which will increase the total to 1500, will show a total outlay of $5,500,000, will bring the total of contributions by the Negroes up to $1,500,000, and make Mr. Rosenwald's contribution over $1,000,000. These school building projects and the financial outlays for them have been definitely approved, and all that is lacking is the actual completion of contracts let.

When the work was first undertaken, the thought was to build one-room rural school houses. Under the developing interest, however, larger and better buildings have been erected. As the teacher capacity is an important thing, the total number of teachers has been given to serve as another index to the value of this achievement.

Still another significant thing should be noted. All of the construction now going on is being done through the States themselves. Every project is presented for approval by the State educational authorities, and is certified as completed by the same officers. The interest manifested is sincere and continuing, and in North Carolina, for example, there are no fewer than eight people connected with the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction who are giving their time toward Negro education.

There is another point too which may be interesting. The buildings are constructed according to definite plans and specifications and no building receives Rosenwald aid unless it conforms to the details of such plans and specifications. As a result in the Rosenwald schools the windows are so placed as to give the right kind of light; the blackboards too are properly located; and the equipment in the way of desks is the best available for the funds on hand. No school building is paid for until inspection has shown it to be built according to the approved ideas.

The following extract from Current History, Vol. XV, pages 771-772, sets forth the participation of Alice Ball, a scholarly Negro chemist, in the treatment of leprosy through the use of chaulmoogra oil extracted by a difficult scientific process.

"Credit for initiating a revolutionary method of treatment is generally ascribed to Dr. Victor Heiser of the United States Public Health Service in the Philippines. Instead of giving raw chaulmoogra oil in doses, as had been the custom for centuries, he gave it by injection to the muscles. Mixed with olive oil and drugs, it was efficacious and helped all patients treated. The old method of taking the oil through the mouth, even in capsules, produced such violent nausea that very few could retain it. If retained, it was healing; the best remedy then known. The success of the Heiser treatment led physicians generally to adopt injections as the best method of giving the oil, but it was thick and not easily absorbed. This led Dr. Harry T. Hollman, a member of the Government Medical Corps at Honolulu, to call for a more diluted form of the oil, one freed from extraneous matter, an ethyl ester, or the vital principle, if there was one. The decomposition of the oil, he said, should be accomplished outside the body.

"After securing the approval of his superiors, Drs. McCoy and Currie, he asked the Chemistry Department of the University of Hawaii to liberate this essence from the vegetable compound. President Dean, himself an expert chemist, became greatly interested. He assigned to the task Miss Alice Ball, a young negro woman and an expert chemist, who found the task exceedingly elusive. She gave it all her time and secured a light essence, which Dr. Hollman administered with improved results; but he still insisted it could be improved. Miss Ball's health failed, possibly from chemical poisoning, and she went to California to recuperate. On her return she again took up the task, aided by Dr. Dean, but was again forced to give up the work entirely and soon afterward died in California.

"President Dean then entered upon the task with redoubled enthusiasm. He was encouraged from results obtained to give every possible aid to the indomitable and optimistic Dr. Hollman. There were months of persistent effort, the devising of expensive and complicated apparatus, including a special furnace for intense heat. At last the precise ethyl ester desired with a number of others was secured. Injections were made as before into the hips of patients the large muscles were selected to avoid any possible introduction of the medicine into the large veins or arteries. The improvement following in every case was so marked as to cause surprise and decided gratification."

On the 3rd and 4th of April, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History will hold its spring conference in New York City. This meeting will come as a climax of a nation-wide membership drive now being conducted by the Association. The plans are to have present a large representation of persons from the various parts of the country that steps may be taken for a more thorough prosecution of the work.