DuPont and Rosenwald

Two philanthropists contributed to African American education on the Eastern Shore.

duPont and RosenwaldHopefully I have the correct Pierre S. duPont photo, with Julius Rosenwald on the right half of the above photograph.  An interesting article on the parallel efforts of these two men is from the 2011 PreservationNation blog from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  As an aside, Rosenwald was President of Sears and Roebuck at the time when the catalog business sold the infamous Sears homes, and at about the same time as the schools.

But the full story is the most interesting and less described, of the African Americans who lobbied for the philanthropic assistance, the thousands of local people who worked hard to raise the matching funds required to build their new schools, the manpower it took, the commitment of the black communities to build these schools.

PreservationblogarticleRosenwald’s schools (as initiated and in conjunction with Booker T. Washington) were constructed throughout the south, including Maryland and Virginia beginning in the 1920’s.  DuPont’s schools throughout Delaware were built at about the same time.  The duPont schools are described in Bradley Skelcher’s 1999 book African American Education in Delaware:  A History through Photographs, 1865-1930, with wonderful photographs of the duPont and pre-duPont schools.  The photographs can be viewed online at the Delaware Archives website.  Recently, a survey was done of the Maryland Rosenwald Schools, but I am pleased to have been the one to find one Rosenwald School thought to have not survived, the one in Dames Quarter in Somerset County, Maryland.  What will happen to this historic building, I do not know, but there are local residents who remember the building as a school.


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