Woodson Center Launches Fundraising Campaign to Bring Historic School Back to Life
WASHINGTON, DC-October 4, 2021-The Woodson Center and the Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration Initiative are launching a major push to raise $2.5 million to restore a 1920s-era Rosenwald school in Cape Charles, VA. The brick, four-classroom schoolhouse educated African American children during legalized segregation and was the heart of the Black community in Cape Charles for nearly four decades.
A LIVESTREAM FUNDRAISING KICKOFF will be held on Oct. 23, 2021, at 7 pm ET. Featured speakers include Bob Woodson, founder and president emeritus of the Woodson Center; Stephanie Deutsch, author of You Need a Schoolhouse: Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald, and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South; and descendants of Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald.
Money raised during the LIVESTREAM FUNDRAISER will help restore the schoolhouse and transform it into a center for education, entrepreneurship, arts, and culture.
“This campaign marks the transition of dreams to reality. It signifies the resurrection of deferred hopes of alumni and former faculty members who didn’t believe they would see this building restored in their lifetime,” says Tevya Griffin, founder of the Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration Initiative. “The spirit of Washington and Rosenwald is present in the 21st century.”
The Cape Charles Rosenwald School is one of nearly 5,000 built a century ago in the rural South. Education reformer Booker T. Washington, a former slave, dreamed of building schools in Black communities to help lift them out of poverty. A century ago, he teamed up with Sears Roebuck magnate Julius Rosenwald to construct schools across 15 states. Members of the Black community also raised money and pitched in to help make Washington’s dream a reality.
“Preserving buildings such as the Cape Charles Rosenwald School is a powerful way of ensuring that the remarkable legacy of the partnership among Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and African American communities across the Jim Crow South is preserved and celebrated,” says Deutsch.
Many Rosenwald Schools closed after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which found racial segregation to be unconstitutional. The Cape Charles school closed in 1966, but its walls still stand as a legacy to the self-determination and perseverance of the Black community. The school is designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as an endangered historic site.
Cape Charles Rosenwald School LIVESTREAM FUNDRAISER
October 23, 2021, 7:00 pm ET.