Miner Teachers College was the principal school to train black teachers in the city for more than 70 years. The school was named for Myrtilla Miner, a white woman, who founded a school that was known as both Miner's School and the School for Colored Girls in 1851. The original Miner's School was located in the block bounded by 19th, 20th, N, and O streets, NW. It closed in 1860.
In 1863 Congress granted a charter to re-open the school as the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth, and it held its first classes after the Civil War ended in 1865. From 1871 to 1876 it was associated with Howard University. In 1879, as Miner Normal School, it became part of the District of Columbia public school system.
Lucy Ellen Moten (1851-1933) served as principal of the school from 1883 until 1920. Moten, born in Fauquier County, Virginia, moved to Washington, DC with her family in order to attend the school run by John F. Cook, Sr. She graduated from Howard University in 1870 and began her teaching career in the public school system. Under her leadership, Miner Normal School became one of the top institutions in the country. She oversaw the construction of the Georgia Avenue building in 1913-1914. Leon E. Dessez served as the principal architect and Snowden Ashford was supervising architect of the Colonial Revival style building.
In 1929 Miner Normal School was renamed Miner Teachers College. Eugene A. Clark followed Moten as principal from 1920 to 1926 and as president from 1930 to 1953. (James A. Turner served as principal from 1926 to 1930.) Miner expanded into a four-year curriculum, graduating its first four-year class in 1933.
In 1955 Miner Teachers College merged with the Wilson Teachers College, for white teachers. The new institution was named DC Teachers College, which in turn was absorbed into the University of the District of Columbia in 1977.
DC Historic Preservation Office, Inventory of Historic Sites, http://planning.dc.gov/preservation/inventory.shtm
Tomika DePriest, “Lucy Ella Moten,” Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Darlene Clark Hine, ed. (New York: Carlson Publishing, 1993), 821-822.
Stanley Harrold, Subversives: Anti-Slavery Community in Washington, D.C., 1828-1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003), 174-202.
Miner-DCTC Reunion Gala, Booklet for “The 50th Anniversary of the Class of 1937 of the Miner Teachers College,” September 24, 1987, Sumner School Archives.
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