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Tue Sep 1, 2015, 04:50 PM

The enlightening legacy of the Rosenwald schools

The tidy shingled schoolhouse, erected in 1927, sits back from Central Avenue in Capitol Heights, Md., nestled in a copse of trees. Originally consisting of two classrooms for seven grades, the building was officially shackled with the ignoble name of Colored School No. 1 in Election District 13, but it came to be known by its proud graduates as Ridgeley, for the area where it stood.

“You were expected to grow up and be a credit to your race,” says La Verne Gray, sitting at a wooden desk in her former classroom, which is flooded with light from a wall of windows. Her first cousin, Corinthia Ridgley Boone, 80, stamped her feet in excitement recalling the glory of the school, where she excelled as a student.

“Oh, yes, you were expected to be somebody,” Boone says. “Our teachers wanted us to be contributors to society.”

The cousins remember when congested Central Avenue was a two-lane dirt road and their town was thick with tobacco fields. Gray loved playing dodgeball beside the school. Boone was a ferocious reader. May Day was a glorious celebration, the girls in their starched white dresses, the boys in crisp shirts, weaving crepe paper around the maypole.


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Reply The enlightening legacy of the Rosenwald schools (Original post)
mopinko Sep 2015 OP
elleng Sep 2015 #1

Response to mopinko (Original post)

Tue Sep 1, 2015, 05:47 PM

1. GREAT to see this, mop!

A similar school, MAYBE a Rosenwald, was located around the corner from a roominghouse in which I lived about 8 years ago, in what's now part of the Colesville section of Silver Spring, MD. If I can, I'll catch a picture of it.

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