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Brightwood in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

School Days

Battleground to Community

 

— Brightwood Heritage Trail —

 
School Days Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
1. School Days Marker
Inscription.  
The School Building Just Ahead of You Opened In 1912 as the Military Road School, the area's third public elementary for African Americans. For decades it was the only public school serving black children in Upper Northwest and nearby Maryland.

The School gave students "the tools to be successful" recalled Patricia Tyson, a student in the 1950s. Teachers required good behavior, good grammar, and respect for the historic contributions of black Americans. Tyson traveled from Montgomery County, Maryland, to attend. Her father, a military Road school alumnus, paid 62 cents a day for the privilege.

The Italian Renaissance style school, designed by Snowden Ashford, held four classrooms. After the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed school segregation, the Military Road School closed, and many of the students were moved to Brightwood Elementary. In 2003 the Military Road School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2007 re-opened as the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School.

The original portion of Brightwood Elementary, across
School Days Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, August 16, 2008
2. School Days Marker
Patricia Tyson portraying educator and lecturer Hallie Quinn Brown in a blue dress points to the "School Days" marker during the celebration of the opening of the Brightwood Heritage Trail.
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Missouri Avenue on your left, was built for white children in 1925 in a colonial revival style by noted Washington architect Waddy Wood. Its modern addition opened in 2005. Brightwood Elementary has long helped immigrants adjust to American life. When Leo Vondas arrived from Greece in 1955, the first grader spoke little English. "They took a lot of time after school with me until I got the hang of it," he recalled. Recent waves of Latino immigrants enjoy similar support.

The Queen Anne style house behind you is one of Brightwood's oldest. It was moved back on its lot in 1933 when Military Road (now Missouri Avenue) was widened and straightened. Owner George Lightfoot, a professor of Latin at Howard University from 1891 until 1939, often entertained W.E.B. Du Bois, Carter Woodson, and other African American intellectuals here.
 
Erected 2008 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 6.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArchitectureEducationWomen. In addition, it is included in the Brightwood Heritage Trail, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1912.
 
Location. 38° 57.716′ N, 77° 1.898′ W. Marker is in Brightwood
Military Road School image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
3. Military Road School
in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on Missouri Avenue Northwest west of 13th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling west. The marker is on the north side of Missouri Avenue between the George Lightfoot house 1329 Missouri Ave. and the Military Road School at 1375 Missouri Ave, NW, Washington DC 20011, in the Brightwood neighborhood. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1330 Missouri Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20011, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Military Road School (within shouting distance of this marker); An African American Enclave (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Aunt Betty's Story (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Stevens (approx. 0.2 miles away); Build It And They Will Come (approx. 0.2 miles away); “Get Down You Fool” (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Streetcar Named Brightwood (approx. 0.2 miles away); Crossroads Create Community (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brightwood.
 
Also see . . .
1. Military Road School, African American Heritage Trail. (Submitted on January 17, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
2. George M. Lightfoot Residence, African American Heritage Trail. (Submitted on February 6, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
 
Military Road School -- Cupola image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
4. Military Road School -- Cupola
George M. Lightfoot House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
5. George M. Lightfoot House
This house was built in 1892 by Frederick Bex a carriage maker and inventor. George Morton Lightfoot bought the house in 1917 but he did not move in until 1931. In 1930, the house was moved from the east end of the lot (near where 13th street is today) to a spot immediately adjacent to the Military Road School to accommodate the widening and straightening of Concord Avenue (now Missouri Avenue). The house was moved again in 1933 when the Federal Government took over the land next to the school for the projected "Fort Drive" to connect the ring of Civil War forts. This time the house was moved eastward into its current location. The Lightfoot family still lives in the old house.

Note: The house is private property. Please be respectful.
Oriel Tower image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, May 19, 2013
6. Oriel Tower
on the George Lightfoot House
Brightwood Elementary image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, May 19, 2013
7. Brightwood Elementary
This school building designed by Waddy B. Wood opened in 1926.
Cupola image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, May 19, 2013
8. Cupola
of the 1926 Brightwood Elementary Building
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 22, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,154 times since then and 54 times this year. Last updated on November 18, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on May 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A photo of the marker reverse. • Can you help?

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Dec. 6, 2022