“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Smithville Colored School

A Julius Rosenwald School

Smithville Colored School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, April 29, 2006
1. Smithville Colored School Marker
Inscription. Built in 1927, the Smithfield Colored School was one of sixteen schools for African Americans constructed in the county with financial assistance from the Julian Rosenwald Fund. The Smithville 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. “That which was designed to separate us will unite us”
Photograph Embedded in the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs
2. Photograph Embedded in the Marker
2005 by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Iota Upsilon Lambda Chapter, in cooperation with the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission and the Maryland Historical Trust.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Rosenwald Schools marker series.
Location. 39° 4.526′ N, 76° 59.706′ W. Marker is in Silver Spring, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is on East Randolph Road east of New Hampshire Avenue (Maryland Route 650), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. It is just before Fairland Road. Marker is at or near this postal address: 811 East Randolph Road, Silver Spring MD 20904, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fawcett's Mill (approx. one mile away); Snowden's Mill (approx. 1.1 miles away); Edmonston's Mill (approx. 1.1 miles away); Valley Mill (approx. 1.1 miles away); a different marker also named Valley Mill (approx. 1.1 miles away); Kemp Mill (approx. 1.9 miles away); The Northwest Branch (approx. 1.9 miles away); Mica Mine Ruins (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Silver Spring.
Additional comments.
1. Who donated the land for the school in 1927
My step-dad was Rufus W. Johnson, son of Charles L. Johnson. Charles donated the 2.0 acres of land for the Smithville Colored School September 22, 1927. He donated the land so that the local children could receive an education.

It is a little disappointing that Charles Johnson's name is not in the remarks on the marker.

In 1999 Rufus Johnson received a letter from Robert Merryman assuring him that the donation would be memorialized.

We are so pleased that the school has become a museum in 2005, but regret that Charles name was left off of the marker. Perhaps this oversight will be corrected. If not for the generous contribution of Charles Johnson, there would not have been a Smithville Colored School. (Mr. Johnson's late wife who passed in 1915, maiden name was Smith). Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted October 4, 2013, by Yvonne Robinson of Kerrville, Texas.

Categories. 20th CenturyAfrican AmericansEducation
Credits. This page was last revised on October 26, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 2, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 5,080 times since then and 2 times this year. Last updated on October 25, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 2, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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