Rosenwald Schools were a network of schools for African American students that were built in the early 20th century in the southern United States. Named after Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, and Company, these schools were the result of a partnership between Rosenwald and African American communities to provide educational opportunities for Black children who were often denied access to quality education.
According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, there were over 5,300 Rosenwald Schools built in 15 states, serving over 700,000 students. These schools were a crucial resource for African American communities, providing education and a sense of community pride. Many famous African Americans, including civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., attended Rosenwald Schools as children.
In Anne Arundel County, Maryland, there were several Rosenwald Schools that were established between 1917 and 1927. These schools were located in the rural areas of the county and were an important resource for the African American community, providing education for children who otherwise may not have had access to it.
Despite their importance, many Rosenwald Schools were shuttered in the mid-20th century as segregation ended and schools were integrated. Today, only a few of these historic buildings remain standing in Anne Arundel County.
Efforts are currently being made to preserve these significant resources and recognize their importance in the county's history. The Anne Arundel County Historical Society, in partnership with the Maryland African American Heritage Preservation Project, is working to document and preserve the remaining Rosenwald Schools in the county. This includes the restoration of the J. Albert Adams Academy in Edgewater, which was originally a Rosenwald School and is now used as a community center.
In addition, the Maryland General Assembly passed a resolution in 2020 to recognize the significance of Rosenwald Schools and the impact they had on the African American community. The resolution also called for the Maryland Historical Trust to develop a plan to preserve and promote the history of these schools (Maryland General Assembly, 2020).
Preserving the history of Rosenwald Schools in Anne Arundel County is important not only for recognizing the contributions of the African American community, but also for understanding the history of education in the county. These schools played a crucial role in providing educational opportunities for African American children and their legacy should be recognized and preserved.
As efforts continue to preserve and recognize the history of Rosenwald Schools in Anne Arundel County, it is important to remember the impact these schools had on the African American community and the contributions they made to education in the county. The preservation of these historic buildings not only honors the past, but also serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for educational equity and the importance of access to quality education for all.
National Trust for Historic Preservation. (n.d.). Rosenwald Schools. Retrieved from https://savingplaces.org/places/rosenwald-schools
Maryland General Assembly. (2020). Maryland House Resolution No. 493. Retrieved from https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmResolutions.aspx?pid=res&tab=subject6&ys=2020rs&id=hr493