Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Douglass High School
Virginia Historic Landmark
Virginia Department of Conservation
and Historic Resources
Throughout much of Virginia in the early 1900s, black parents were pressing the then system of racial segregation for improved educational opportunity for their children. Following the calling and achievements of abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the years after the Civil War and the efforts of other black educators in Virginia seeking to improve schools for black students, parents began organizing to influence Commonwealth and local school authorities to build schools and improve curriculums for black students - particularly secondary level.
In those days, the public education system in Virginia referred to secondary schools for black students as 'training schools.' Prior to the 1930s black students went only to the seventh grade. In Leesburg, parents would pay the principal of the grade school to teach their children eighth grade subjects before they were added to the Loudoun County school system. In the 1930s, a ninth grade facility was added in Leesburg for black students, followed shortly by a 10th grade, and which ultimately evolved into a 'training school.' Overall, school conditions for black students were poor and it was up to the students to get to school on
In the late 1930s a group called Parents of Loudoun County was organized and initiated an effort to establish a high school for black students in Loudoun County. While the Parents group persuaded the school board of the need for the high school there was no land available in the school system nor money to acquire land for the school. The Parents group (by now formed into the County Wide League of Parents) and a newly formed Loudoun Branch of the NAACP took up the task of finding a site and raising money to purchase it. The League and the NAACP Branch purchased this eight-acre site and granted it to the school board. The school board initiated construction in early 1941 and the high school opened in September of that year. The black community also contributed additional equipment and materials for the school's educational program. Douglass High School served the black community in Loudoun County until the desegregation of the schools in 1968-1969.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Douglass High School the Senate of Virginia stated well the pride and dignity held in the hearts of the black community of Loudoun County for what this school means to the past and future:
...if only the educated are free, then the establishing of an educational institution of 20th century America is a reaffirmation of freedom; ... and the enduring
(Virginia Senate Resolution No. 66; May 21, 1991)
The Douglass facility continues to serve special educational and community activity needs of all the people in Loudoun County. This is the most significant achievement reflecting the original purpose for which this school was built.
The Loudoun/Douglass Alumni Association dedicates this historic marker with the deepest respect and gratitude to the original ... "Parents of Loudoun County, the County Wide League, the Loudoun Branch NAACP, and other supporters for their unswerving devotion to high education of the youth in Loudoun County." ...and to ... "our teachers, each unique in their own way, excelling in all capacities to prepare us for the world today." (50th Anniversary Celebration of Douglass High School Loudoun/Douglass Alumni Association, July 6, 1991)
Location. 39° 6.592′ N, 77° 33.261′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker is at the intersection of East Market Street (Business State Highway 7) and Sycolin Road (County Route 643), on the right when traveling west on East Market Street. Touch for map. Located on the northwest corner of Douglass High School. Marker is in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20175, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Douglass Community School (within shouting distance of this marker); The Leesburg Lime Company (approx. 0.4 miles away); George Catlett Marshall (approx. 0.4 miles away); Dodona Manor (approx. 0.4 miles away); Gen. George C. Marshall House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Stationmaster's House (approx. half a mile away); The Lost Locomotive (approx. half a mile away); Leesburg Freight Station (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leesburg.
Categories. • 20th Century • African Americans • Civil Rights • Education •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 2, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,370 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 2, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.