Armstrong Manual Training School
The Armstrong Manual Training School was a school in the Washington, DC area for African American children. Built in 1902 and dedicated by Booker T. Washington, the Armstrong Manual Training School was one of many schools in Washington, DC dedicated to giving African American children access to quality education. Since 1964, the school has continued its educational function, but instead serves as the home of the Armstrong Adult Education Center, and continues to do so today. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in August of 1966.
Backstory and Context
In the late 1800s, Washington, DC was the center of an initiative to create schools to bolster the education of African-American children in the area. Numerous schools, such as the William Syphax and Thaddeus Stevens schools were devised with the purpose of giving African-American children educational opportunities that they might not have had otherwise, and the Armstrong Manual Training School was among this gathering of schools. Booker T. Washington was a prominent supporter of the movement, and he specifically called for the presence of vocational training for African Americans. As a result of this, the concept for the Armstrong Manual Training School was born, and in 1899, funds were allocated by Congress for the school to be constructed. Construction began in 1900, and in 1902, the school was completed and ready for use, though it was originally known as Manual Training School #2. In 1903, it was named the Armstrong Manual Training School in order to honor General Samuel Chapman Armstrong.
In the decades that followed the school’s establishment, the Armstrong Manual Training School underwent numerous renovations, including additions of annexes and additional facilities, and consistently worked to improve the opportunities afforded to its students. Even after desegregation was passed in the Washington, DC school system in 1954, the Armstrong Manual Training School continued to be of service to its community, becoming the Veterans High School from 1958 until 1964. In 1964, the school was converted into the Armstrong Adult Education Center, which has continued to fulfill the educational needs of those in its community. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 16th, 1996.