The importance of education to Gloucester’s African American community, and the struggle to provide it for its children, is the legacy of Woodville Rosenwald School. The school today bears silent witness to the many human stories of accomplishment and citizenship that are an important part of the entire community’s fabric of history. Left alone, Woodville School will not only be a silent witness, but one that disappears
When the Woodville School was built in 1923, the Rosenwald School Fund required the black and white communities to come together and raise as much of the school’s construction costs as possible. These funds could be in cash, material, labor and related in-kind services. In addition, the local school board had to put cash toward the school. The Fund would provide whatever additional funds were required. Once construction was complete the school had to become tax supported. Thanks in large part to the efforts of T.C. Walker, Gloucester met this challenge and the school was built.
The Woodville Rosenwald School Foundation faced this challenge again in 2019, when the property owner, the Gloucester Economic Development Authority (EDA). offered to sell the property to The Foundation at a price well below market, but the offer had to close within just a few months. Again, the black and white communities of Gloucester came together, and the goal was met within two months
Now we are embarking on the next phase of the project: to rehabilitate the building and make the grounds accessible, to create a museum and library, and provide space for community activities. Once again, we will be asking for your help.
This community effort will allow the Woodville Rosenwald School to stand as a monument to the importance of education and the struggle of African Americans to obtain it. This monument will now be a beacon to all and for the generations to come.
Thank you, Gloucester.
Wesley C. Wilson EdD