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Rosenwald High School recognized as historic landmark

Roughly a century ago, the Bay County School Board partnered with the black community to create...
Roughly a century ago, the Bay County School Board partnered with the black community to create what was later known as Rosenwald High School.(WJHG/WECP)
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 8:34 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Rosenwald High School made its mark as one of the only African American schools in Panama City prior to desegregation. Now, it’s being recognized as a historic landmark.

To some, high school was just something to check off the adulthood to-do list. But that’s not the case for a group of Rosenwald alumni.

Roughly a century ago, the Bay County School Board partnered with the black community to create what was later known as Rosenwald High School.

“So many people went through here. So many people did so many things. And it’s easy for things to get lost in time,” Rosenwald Alumni Association member Warren Rodgers Jr. said.

But Rosenwald won’t be one of those lost things. On Wednesday, it was designated a historic landmark.

“I think there’s a love and a bond that we inherited from the school,” Rosenwald Alumni Association member Henry John Godwin Jr. said.

It’s a bond that dates back to one of its earlier graduating classes in 1951.

“To see them that come along after me. You know some of them are teachers, preachers, lawyers, doctors, businessmen. It’s great to know Rosenwald produced these people,” Rosenwald alum Emma Glover-Harley said.

Rosenwald High School was much more than just a place of learning to the alumni who once walked the halls. It was a community filled with pride, love, and discipline; a piece of their life that now has the same respect they’ve always had for it.

“We will never be able to let people know what it felt like. But we may have a chance to tell them that we were here. And that we meant something and that we achieved something,” Rodgers said.

The Alumni Association worked for four years. And now, Rosenwald has a marker out front telling its story.

“A story can be told but not with the heart and the passion that we feel. And so again if this marker is the only thing in sight 20 years from now, it’s a marker. But our hearts and souls are in this building. We haunt it every day,” Godwin said.

Rosenwald serves as an alternative high school today.

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