Smithville Colored Rosenwald School Museum

Smithville Colored Rosenwald School Museum

Built in 1927, the Smithville Colored School was one of sixteen schools for African Americans constructed in the county with financial assistance from the Julian Rosenwald Fund.

The Smithville Colored School was built near Colesville, Maryland to provide "colored" students a better opportunity for education.

The land for the school was donated, and the community raised money to supplement the Rosenwald Fund and donated materials and labor.

The school name came from the surrounding community which had been named for a local family. Montgomery County also provided funds for the completion of the school.

The county Board of Education operated the school, but the teachers were paid less than the white teachers, the books were previously used, and the supplies limited.

The cooperative effort between Julius Rosenwald Fund and African American citizens gave a tremendous boost to public education for African Americans in the South during a time of segregation in a separated but extremely unequal environment.

In spite of the disparity of treatment, these students became doctors, lawyers, teachers, and skilled tradesmen. The Smithville School was closed in the spring of 1952 when all Montgomery County schools for "colored" children were consolidated.

The Smithville Colored School still remains. The Iota Upsilon Lambda (IUL) Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (ΑΦΑ) created the Smithville School Museum and Education Center nearby in 2007.