The Rosenwald School building program played a prominent and pivotal role in the education of African Americans in the early 20th century.

A result of a partnership between Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald, President of Sears, Roebuck and Company, the Rosenwald Fund providing matching grants for more than 5,000 schools, shops and teacher’s residences built in 15 southern states, between 1917 and 1931.The schools became obsolete in 1954 with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that outlawed segregation in public education. Many of the schools were abandoned or demolished and their invaluable contributions forgotten.

Despite their critical role in the education of a large portion of the southern populations, Rosenwald Schools are a largely unfamiliar component of the educational history of the United state. As a consequence the National Trust for Historic preservation named Rosenwald Schools to its 2002 list of Most Endangered sites. More recently, Rosenwald Schools were designated as one of the first of the Trust’s National Treasures continuing their commitment to their preservation.

Rosenwald Schools  in Maryland

Of the more than 5,000 Rosenwald program buildings constructed, 156 of the school and ancillary structures were built in Maryland – and 53 of those structures remain.

Multiple Property Documentation Form: Rosenwald Schools of Anne Arundel County
Approved by the National Park Service in 2005

Pleasant View Historical Site

As part of our Six-to-Fix program, Preservation Maryland is currently assisting the Quince Orchard community with strategic visioning for the Pleasant View Historic Site in Montgomery County. The Pleasant View Historic Site is comprised of the Quince Orchard Colored School, believed to have received Rosenwald funds, as well as the Pleasant View Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Pleasant View Cemetery. The buildings on this site are monuments to the story of how during segregation African Americans utilized the institutions available to them to forge a new future. The buildings are beginning to suffer from years of deferred maintenance, and Pleasant View needs to embrace new uses to remain relevant to the larger community. Success will require a more comprehensive approach to rehabilitation and future use, and the Six-to-Fix team will focus on identify new uses and partnerships, while also working to secure capital funding to stabilize and rehabilitate the historic structures.

Additional Resources

Search for a Rosenwald School in the Julius Rosenwald Fund Archives
Compiled by Fisk University’s Franklin Library

One- and Two-Room School Houses in Montgomery County
By Ralph Bugless in Montgomery County Historical Society magazine, Fall 2015

The Quince Orchard Oral History Project
Descendants of original community members have collected over 240 oral history interviews

“Rosenwald: The Remarkable Story of a Jewish Partnership with African American Communities”
A documentary released in 2015 by film marker Aviva Kempner

Video of the 2015 Rosenwald Schools Conference
Presented by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources