The Stanley Institute is a small, one-story building used as both school and church for the African American community after the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s (it was built in 1867 and was last used in 1966). It is one of the oldest schools in the state to be organized and maintained by the community. Today, it is owned and operated by the Friends of the Stanley Institute and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Backstory and Context
Built in 1867, the Stanley Institute was named after Reverend Ezekiel Stanley, and it was used a school and church for African Americans and managed by African Americans after the Civil War. The Stanley Institute was last used in 1966 during the Civil Rights Movement. It is one of the oldest African American schools in Maryland. It was a crime to teach a slave to read before the Civil War, so this left a slim chance to learn how to read and write. The Stanley Institute provided hope for those who wanted to educate themselves and their children.
Now owned by the Friends of the Stanley Institute, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The Stanley Institute represents the dedication of nearly a century of African Americans who educated themselves and their children in a suppressive society in which they lived as slaves and eventually as free individuals in a racist society with segregated school systems.
stanley institute. Visit Dorchester. Accessed December 06, 2018. https://visitdorchester.org/stanley-institute/.
6. Stanley Institute. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. Accessed December 06, 2018. http://harriettubmanbyway.org/stanley-institute/.