Julius Rosenwald, a wealthy businessman and the president of Sears, established The Rosenwald Fund in 1917 with Booker T. Washington. This fund, which held $70 million dollars, was used primarily to fund construction of nearly 5000 schools for African American students throughout the south. Prince George’s County had 27 Rosenwald schools.
The Ridgely Rosenwald School was built in 1927 and was co-financed with matching funds from the local community. A segregated school with three classrooms, it was active until the 1950s. After a vigorous campaign to restore the property, the Ridgely Rosenwald Schoolhouse reopened as a museum in 2011. It is one nine Rosenwald schools that are still standing in our County.