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

William Syphax Public School

 
 
William Syphax Public School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 17, 2019
1. William Syphax Public School Marker
Inscription.  William Syphax Public School, built in 1902 to serve African American children under the city's then-segregated school system, honored the first president of the Board of Trustees of the DC Colored Schools.

The original building was designed in 1900 by noted Washington architects Marsh & Peter in a Colonial Revival style.

Mr. Syphax (1825-1891) was a descendent of Martha Washington's grandson and an enslaved woman. Mr. Syphax was born enslaved in Arlington, Virginia, to an enslaved mothe and free black father. One year later, he, his mother, and nine siblings received their freedom. Mr. Syphax became an educator and also worked at the Department of the Interior. He was a leader in the effort to establish the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth in 1870, the nation's first public high school for African Americans. He was also a tireless advocate for the desegregation of Washington's public schools. Syphax family descendents continue to contribute to the well-being of Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia.

In 1994 the DC Board of Education closed Syphax School because the school-age population had declined,
William Syphax Public School Building image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 17, 2019
2. William Syphax Public School Building
leaving Anthony Bowen and Margaret Amidon elementary schools to serve the community. In 2003, Manna, Inc., acquired and preserved the original school's exterior as part of a development of affordable housing.

Photos, courtesy Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives; Smithsonian Institution Archives
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC.
 
Location. Marker has been reported damaged. 38° 52.445′ N, 77° 0.632′ W. Marker is in Southwest, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Half Street Southwest north of O Street Southwest, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1322 Half Street Southwest, Washington DC 20024, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. 2005 (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1910 (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1971 (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1961 (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1859 (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1948 (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1937 (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1924 (approx. 0.2 miles away).
 
Categories. African AmericansArchitectureEducation
 

More. Search the internet for William Syphax Public School.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 17, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 17, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 17, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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