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African American Heritage Trail, Washington, DC


Charles Sumner School

Charles Sumner School

This school, completed in 1872, was one of three public elementary schools built for DC's black children just after the Civil War. Its name honors U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, who fought to abolish slavery here, pay black soldiers the same as whites, establish the Freedman's Bureau, and provide education to all children. Designed by Adolf Cluss, Sumner opened as the city's most modern school building. After it closed in 1978, Sumner School was saved from demolition through an organized community effort. Today it serves as a museum on public education and the repository of the DC Public School System's official archives.

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African American Heritage Trail

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DC, Washington

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Charles Sumner

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

Updated: 7-16-2020