Our History

Rosenwald High School was an all Black public school erected in 1920, in Harlan County, Kentucky. The records prior to 1913 do not exist for Rosenwald High School, also known as the Colored School, during this time the Day law, which segregated the public school system, was passed; and the segregation of black and white students was a legal reality. The Superintendent report of 1917-1918 stated that "with the adoption of the commission form of government for our schools, it became necessary for the board to assume charge of the education of the colored children of this district while it was not obligatory for me to do so". In 1918 the black people of the community undertook the responsibility to raise five hundred dollars for the construction of a building, and with the contribution of four hundred dollars from the Rosenwald fund a new two-room school building was open in 1920. Julius Rosenwald, a philanthropist from Chicago IL, set up the Rosenwald fund.

With the passing of desegregation laws, education for the Black students of Harlan was dramatically changed once again. In 1963 Rosenwald High School had its final graduation class. The first meeting for the Harlanites Club was held in Detroit, Michigan, October 14, 1969. At the meeting of November 15 1969 the purpose of the club was established, which is to give scholarships and financial aid to students who have been accepted to institutions of higher learning. The Harlanites Club organized nationally in 1976. Every two years the Rosenwald Harlanites have a reunion to raise funds for this purpose and have been able to award over sixty scholarships since the first Reunion held in Detroit Michigan in 1970.