Historic Schools in Washington, DC: Preserving a Rich Heritage
Harris, Gabriela P.
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Struggles for racial equality in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere have often taken place in the public school arena, even after school segregation was abolished. Public schools anchored their communities, turned children into citizens, acted as a social equalizer by assimilating generations of immigrants, and ultimately integrated African Americans into full membership in American society. Given how much public schools contributed to the cohesiveness of the nation, and Washington, D.C. in particular, it is alarming to see how neglected historic schools have become. This study is an attempt to raise awareness of the rich history of these structures and to offer recommendations on how to deal with their use and care so these irreplaceable resources can remain part of the communities they served. Once historic resources are gone, they can never be replaced and too often the preservation of important school buildings succumbs to short term goals and financial crises. More consistent policies are required that recognize and respect the important heritage of Washington, D.C.’s historic schools.