Birney School Historical

Birney School Historical (HM1WEJ)

Location: Washington, DC 20020
Country: United States of America

N 38° 51.722', W 76° 59.598'

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An East-of-the River View

—Anacostia Heritage Trail —

The Handsome Italian Renaissance Building. across the street opened as James G. Birney Elementary School in 1901. Its wood-frame predecessor, the original 1889 Birney School, was the first school built with public funds for African American children in Anacostia and Hillsdale. Even though Congress had created a public school system for the District's black children in 1862, it was slow to develop, especially in rural areas.

Education occurred regardless. Before 1889, African American children here attended the Hillsdale School, which was sponsored by the Freedmen's Bureau and built by Barry Farm residents in 1871. And before that, children attended privately run schools, including the Mount Zion School (later the Howard School) on Douglass Road.

When a third Birney School opened at 2501 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in 1950, students filled their wagons with supplies and moved them from the old classrooms to the new. This building briefly housed the first junior high for African Americans this side of the river. At the same time, the new Sousa Junior High for white children opened on Ely Place, SE When black children tried to enroll there, Sousa became the center of Bolling V. Sharpe, a lawsuit that ultimately became part of the Brown V. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that desegregated public
schools nationwide.

Until Anacostia Junior-Senior High School opened at 16th and R Streets, SE, in 1935, white Anacostia teenagers attended schools across
the river. African American children continued to cross the river for high school until schools were desegregated in 1954 and Anacostia High School admitted all.
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Placed ByAnacostia Heritage Trail
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, December 30th, 2016 at 9:01am PST -08:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 327054 N 4303354
Decimal Degrees38.86203333, -76.99330000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 51.722', W 76° 59.598'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 51' 43.32" N, 76° 59' 35.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2424 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington DC 20020, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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