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The Galesville Rosenwald School, Maryland

Galesville, Maryland

Story Narrative:

Screenshot from video documentary on Galesville Rosenwald School, showing an African American woman wearing glasses and a black-and-white top.

Residents of Galesville, Maryland reminisce about attending Galesville's Rosenwald School, which operated from 1929 to 1956. Made possible by a grant from Julius Rosenwald, who funded up to half the cost of building schools for low-income communities, the school was opened to replace the segregated schoolhouse that had burned down the year before. It closed in 1956, when local students were bussed elsewhere, but remains a fixture in the community as the Galesville Community Center.

Speaker 1: The school was built in 1929, as a one room school and..

Speaker 2: [0:16] I enjoyed the school more about being the community. So in that it for the school cause I learned more about it. Since I were coming back and be a member of that community. then I was in school.

Speaker 3: [0:30] . . . because there was a lot of entertainment going on here. Where we didn't have other places to go, you know, to do this.

Speaker 4: [0:40] We can help somebody else that might need help, to become

Speaker 5: [0:46] And I thank God for that.

Speaker 6: [0:51] I had Ms. Merrit Gray.

Speaker 7: [0:53] Who would in the winter time, Would make soup. For lunch, for the kids. On the potbelly stoves, so you know!

Speaker 8: [1:05]  Ms. Samson was her name. But she was subdued most time. Novine Holt. She was a teacher. I had, let's see, Light. Our teachers that went, Brown was her name. I had Ms. Brown It was exciting. She was able to have somewhere to go right here in the village where we could walk Everybody didn't have a car. And we just enjoyed each other, whatever it was held here. You know, we used to have a dance here, have a little band and..

Speaker 9: [1:45] We had a two room school. So you had first, second and third and then you have fourth, fifth and sixth.

Multiple speakers: [1:50] That view could be right there. It was one in this one. and one on the other side and that one stove kept the whole building alive.

Speaker 10: [2:00] A way to appreciate the way life is now because I mean we had outhouses, we had a coal stove, we had to bring our lunch. There was no electricity, so..

Speaker 11: [2:12] We only had two rooms.

Speaker 12: [2:19] You made a little scrapbook or something to identify the different leaves from the trees the maple tree or oak tree or whatever type of leaf that.

Multiple speakers: [2:27] Read and write and arithmetic.

Speaker 13: [2:30] I remember us having a little garden here on the grounds, here at the school grounds. And we'd plant flowers and I think there might've been some vegetables there also, but I do remember having a little flag garden and what else. Oh, actually it had a tremendous impact on my life because our forefathers implanted in us, minds that education was very important and with that in mind, we came to learn and was an experience that I will always remember because I had very, very, very special individuals, teachers.

Speaker 14: [3:21] Am glad that I went to this school because I can see where I was and where I've come from.

Speaker 15: [3:33] Then, this was the only school for black kids in this area. Before that time, they were taught in like either private homes or churches. And the Julius Rosenwald Foundation, Julius Rosenwald was the owner of Sears and Roebuck and he contributed to about 23 schools in Aleraldo County, and there's 10 surviving. And most of those are community centers. So we were able to get funding to do a renovation and basically open it as a community center.

Speaker 16: [4:13] A hundred years. Like it is now. Never dreamed that this would ever be, but I'm glad this was something, it's still for us. Still ramped to see what become of it.

Asset ID: 2015.01
Themes: Crossroads, small towns, education, schools, African American history
Date recorded: 2015
Length of recording: 4:44
Related traveling exhibition: Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: South River High School student, via Anne Arundel County’s Cultural Resources Division, Lyndra Marshall (née Pratt), Acting Chair of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, and Gertrude Makell of the Galesville Community Center
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