Starting in 2006, a group of students and faculty in the fields of Architectural History, Landscape Architecture, and Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia began a project to create a comprehensive overview of how the neighborhoods of Northeast D.C. developed, how the land around Watts Branch became a park and to develop a portrait of the community and the park’s history. I focused on the campus of the National Training School for Women and Girls in Lincoln Heights, a neighborhood along Watts Branch. This campus was the physical manifestation of a new ideology in technical and higher education for African American women.
Nannie Helen Burroughs founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in 1909. Burroughs, who also founded the Women’s Convention Auxiliary (WCA) to the National Baptist Convention and was a member of the National Association of Colored women (NACW), made it clear that she wanted her school to be funded primarily by African Americans and that it would be open to African American students of all denominations.
The National Training School was the first African American Women’s school of national scope to open outside of the Deep South and Burroughs was often compared to Booker T. Washington. Locating the school in an established African American neighborhood, but within in an area that was - like the city as a whole - racially mixed, probably held some attraction to Burroughs, who required her students to take courses in Black History, in addition to courses required for students’ majors, which could be normal (teaching), missionary, or domestic science.
This paper examines how the campus evolved throughout the school’s lifetime in relation to women’s education in general, education for African Americans specifically, and changes in Watt’s Branch.
|Keywords:||Washington, D.C., Women’s Education, African American Education, Nannie Helen Burroughs|
Graduate Researcher, Departments of Architectural History and Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
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