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Launching Next Week! Persistence, Purpose, and Preservation: Rosenwald Schools in Anne Arundel County

Feb 16 2022

Launching Next Week! Persistence, Purpose, and Preservation: Rosenwald Schools in Anne Arundel County

Galesville Community Center announces the launch of the Anne Arundel County Rosenwald School History Project

Join the Galesville Community Center Organization, Inc. (GCCO) on Saturday, February 26, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. for a free online public program to launch an innovative local history project titled “Persistence, Purpose, and Preservation: Rosenwald Schools in Anne Arundel County.” The online program will be available live on the Galesville Community Center Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GalesvilleCommunityCenter.

The program will introduce this County-wide Rosenwald School history project, provide an overview of the history and legacy of Rosenwald Schools, and share information about how the public can get involved.

The project will result in a documentary film that is set to premiere in 2023. The film will include oral interviews with former students, teachers and school staff; former administrators; civil rights activists, landowners, and community members with connections to the twenty-three Rosenwald schools built in Anne Arundel County between 1921 and 1932.

Rosenwald schools were established to educate African American children during the Jim Crow era.  In 1912, businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, part-owner and leader of Sears, Roebuck and Co., connected with Booker T. Washington to assist in funding a program in line with Washington’s belief of self-help for African American southerners that emphasized economic advancement through vocational education. Together they joined with African American communities in the South, including the State of Maryland, to build schools during the early part of the 20th century.

“The partnerships with communities to build schools, the experiences of students and teachers at the all black schools, as well as the modern-day attempts to maintain or reconfigure the schools, is a great dramatic story, yet too little-known. African American students benefited in many ways from an initiative that truly speaks to The American Dream,“ said Gertrude Makell, president of GCCO and former student of the Galesville Rosenwald School.  “The documentary will share firsthand accounts of stories never been told before.”

This project is funded with grants from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Maryland Humanities, and Anne Arundel County Arts and Cultural Resources.

Galesville Community Center

The Galesville Community Center resides in the historic Rosenwald School of Galesville. It was built as an elementary school for African American children in 1929 as a one-room school and expanded to a two-room school in 1931 as part of the Julius Rosenwald Fund Program. The school closed in 1956. In 1958, the Galesville Rosenwald School was purchased from the Board of Education at a cost of $1,000 by twelve community residents that formed the Galesville Community Center Organization, Inc. The GCCO was reorganized in 2003 to preserve the Galesville Rosenwald School. For more information about Galesville Community Center, please visit historicgalesville.org.

Maryland Heritage Areas Authority

This project has been financed in part with State funds from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland. However, Project contents or opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

Maryland Humanities

This project is supported in part by the Maryland Humanities. Funding for these grants has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Maryland Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the NEH Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) initiative.

Anne Arundel County Arts and Cultural Resources

This project is supported in part with funding from an Arts and Cultural Resources Grant, made possible by the generous support of the Anne Arundel County Office of Planning and Zoning Cultural Resources Division, in partnership with the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County.