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Normal School for Colored Girls

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Title: Normal School for Colored Girls  
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Subject: University of the District of Columbia, William Henry Channing, Charlotte E. Ray, Myrtilla Miner, Edmonson sisters, Charles Sumner School, Freeway Phantom
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Normal School for Colored Girls

Miner Normal School
Normal School for Colored Girls
Location 2565 Georgia Ave., NW., Washington, D.C.

38°55′24″N 77°1′21″W / 38.92333°N 77.02250°W / 38.92333; -77.02250Coordinates: 38°55′24″N 77°1′21″W / 38.92333°N 77.02250°W / 38.92333; -77.02250

Built 1913
Architect Leon E. Dessez; Snowden Ashford
Architectural style Colonial Revival
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 91001490[1]
Added to NRHP October 11, 1991

Normal School for Colored Girls established in Washington, D.C. in 1851 as an institution of learning and training for young African-American women, especially to train teachers.[2][3] As Miner Normal School, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The school was founded by Myrtilla Miner with the encouragement from Henry Ward Beecher and funding from a Quaker philanthropist after the school in Mississippi where she taught refused her permission to conduct classes for African American girls.[3] While inappropriate today, the use of the term "colored" was considered polite in 19th century speech. However, some sources refer to the school as the "Miner School for Girls".

Although the school offered primary schooling and classes in domestic skills, its emphasis from the outset was on training teachers. Miner stressed hygiene and nature study in addition to rigorous academic training.[3]

Within two months of opening, school enrollment grew from six to forty. Despite hostility from a portion of the community, the school prospered with the help of continued contributions from Quakers and a gift from Harriet Beecher Stowe (cousin of Beecher) of $1,000 of the royalties she earned from Uncle Tom's Cabin.[3]

As it grew, the school was forced to move three times in its first two years, but in 1854 it settled on a 3 acre (1.2-hectare) lot with house and barn on the edge of the city. Around this time, Emily Edmonson enrolled in the school. To help protect the school and those involved with it, the Edmonson family took up residence on the grounds and both Emily Edmonson and Myrtilla Miner learned to shoot.[3][4]

In 1856 the school came under the care of a board of trustees, among whom were Beecher and wealthy Quaker Johns Hopkins. By 1858 six former students were teaching in schools of their own. By that time Miner's connection with the school had been lessened by her failing health and from 1857 Emily Howland was in charge.[3]

In 1860 the school had to be closed, and the next year Miner went to California in an attempt to regain her health. A carriage accident in 1864 ended that hope, and Miner died shortly after her return to Washington, D.C.[3]

During the American Civil War, on March 3, 1863, the United States Senate granted the school a charter as the "Institution for the Education of Colored Youth" and named Henry Addison, John C. Underwood, George C. Abbott, William H. Channing, Nancy M. Johnson, and Myrtella Miner as directors.[5]

From 1871 to 1876 the school was associated with Howard University, and in 1879, as "Miner Normal School", it became part of the District of Columbia public school system. In 1929, an act of the U.S. Congress accredited it as "Miner Teachers College".[2][3][6]

The current Colonial Revival building was built in 1913, designed by Leon E. Dessez and Snowden Ashford.[1]

In 1955 the school merged with Wilson Teachers College to form the "District of Columbia Teachers College". In 1976, this was incorporated into the University of the District of Columbia.[2][6]

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.[1]

Notable students

  • Louise Daniel Hutchinson historian, attended the school.[7]
  • Ruby Hurley graduate, NAACP leader

See also


External links

  • Congressional records
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