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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Southwest Waterfront in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Equality in Public Education

River Farms to Urban Towers

 

— Southwest Heritage Trail —

 
Equality in Public Education Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 20, 2017
1. Equality in Public Education Marker
Front of marker
Inscription.  
Jefferson Junior High School was built in 1940 after area residents persuaded the city to abandon the original dilapidated building. They hoped the new structure, which included a branch library, would be the beginning of section-wide improvements.

In September 1954, Jefferson was the site of a scene repeated across the city. For the first time, African American students took their seats next to white students in Washington's public schools. The Supreme Court had just ruled that "separate but equal" facilities were unconstitutional, so black students from nearby Randall Junior High all came to Jefferson. Washington's school integration was surprisingly peaceful. Former Jefferson student Carl Cole recalled that integration "had no concerns for me. I had played with white children all of my early life here."

Washington's system of separate schools had required many buildings, but they didn't always meet the needs. In 1954 Southwest had five overcrowded "colored" elementary schools, four under-enrolled white elementaries, and a junior high for each group. When integration began, the school-age population had already
Equality in Public Education Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 20, 2017
2. Equality in Public Education Marker
Back of marker
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declined because urban renewal had been announced. Planners expected that residents of the new Southwest would be older and/or childless. So seven elementaries were demolished. The new Southwest had just three: William Syphax, Anthony Bowen, and a new Margaret Amidon. By 2003, there were two, with Syphax being adapted for residential use.

Because this street ends at the waterfront, in the 1800s Seventh Street became a commercial thoroughfare. Businesses located themselves here and along Seventh into far Northwest Washington. Omnibuses (wagons pulled by horses) carried passengers up and down Seventh until 1862, when Congress chartered a horse-drawn street railway with a line along Seventh to the wharves.
 
Erected 2004 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 7.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Civil RightsEducation. In addition, it is included in the Southwest Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1800.
 
Location. 38° 52.872′ N, 77° 1.324′ W. Marker is in Southwest Waterfront in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of 7th Street Southwest and G Street Southwest on 7th Street Southwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 799 7th Street Southwest, Washington DC 20024, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Equality in Public Education Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, September 25, 2019
3. Equality in Public Education Marker
of this marker. Dr. Dorothy Height (within shouting distance of this marker); Can you identify these famous Civil Rights leaders? (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Dominic Church: Community Anchor (about 800 feet away); Denvel D. Adams (about 800 feet away); Stone from First Baptist Church in America (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hogate's Rum Bun (approx. 0.2 miles away); Waterfront Commerce (approx. 0.2 miles away); American Ice Company (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Southwest Waterfront.
 
Also see . . .  River Farms to Urban Towers Booklet. (Submitted on October 20, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 20, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 154 times since then and 3 times this year. Last updated on March 8, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 20, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3. submitted on September 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Jun. 15, 2021