Jul 17, 2006

Berkley (Hosanna) School

"Berkley School is one of four structures erected in Harford County in the years immediately following the Civil War for the purpose of educating freed slaves. Of the four structures, two were built by a public source, the Federal agency commonly called the Freedmens' Bureau, the McComas Institute and the Green Spring School. Two, however, were built by private sources, Berkley School and Anderson Institute in Havre de Grace. Only McComas Institute and the Berkley School still stand. The Berkley School was built by five black men acting as Trustees in 1868 largely because efforts of the Freedmans' Bureau proved ineffective in this part of Maryland and stands as a rare, early instance of black-initiated and black-run educational efforts in the former slave-owning areas of the nation. The men originally put up a two-story building. The second story was for the just-established Hosanna Church and was also used for meetings by various black fraternal orders and lodges. It is important to note that the schoolroom was the main focus of the enterprise here, and the schoolroom appears to look much as it did when first opened in 1868. Berkley School was used as a school for blacks until 1945 when the school ceased operation." Read on.