Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives

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Washington-Washington, DC (DC)

  • Category: museums-history
  • Section: Schools - Other Museums - History

This landmark 1872 school building... which graduated the first high school class for African Americans in 1877. The Sumner School was named for US Senator Charles Sumner, an outspoken advocate for integration, especially in education. Designed by Washington architect Adolf Cluss, the structure received an award for design in 1873 at the Vienna Exposition.

This historic building, steeped in African American heritage, housed the headquarters for Superintendent and Board of Trustees for Colored Public Schools of Washington and Georgetown. At one time it housed the early high school that later became M Street High School and eventually, the highly regarded Dunbar High School.

The Charles Sumner School is an appealing museum, which also houses the DC Public School archives. It was renovated to a “modernized Norman style” in 1984-85. Permanent exhibits include extensive DC public school memorabilia and sculptural vignettes that capture the life and times of Frederick Douglass.

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