Rosenwald Schools were built through a collaborative effort between Booker T. Washington (head of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama) and Julius Rosenwald, an Illinois businessman and philanthropist who was a trustee of the Tuskegee Institute. The two shared a philosophy of self-reliance and worked together to foster opportunities for the education of Black children in underserved communities throughout the southern United States.
The program involved engagement with communities to raise at least half of the funding, or provide commensurate funds via deeding land, or through contribution of labor and materials, after which grants were provided by Rosenwald, contingent upon approval to build the school.
Woodville was one of over 5,000 Rosenwald Schools, 382 of which were built in Virginia, and is the only remaining Rosenwald School in Gloucester County. It was built in 1923.
It was converted to residential use after being purchased by George W. Marshall in 1942, and a guest house and small shed were built on the property. Marshall sold the property to James and Edith Stubbs in 1943 and they lived there until 2001.
The Stubbs’ sold the property to David Peebles in 2001 and he resided there until 2012, when the Gloucester Economic Development Authority acquired the property from Peebles to ensure its preservation.
In 2019, the Woodville Rosenwald School Foundation purchased the school and set about turning it into a museum to share local, state, and national Black history.
Know Before You Go
Woodville School was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004.
As of June 2022, interior restoration efforts are still underway.