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The Stevens Elementary School was built in 1868 as one of the first publicly funded schools for black children. In 2008 when it closed it was the city's oldest school in continuous operation.

The school honors Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (1792–1868) an important abolitionist who served as U.S. representative from Pennsylvania. He was first elected in 1848 and was a constant opponent of extending slavery or appeasing the South. He was known as a Radical Republican who favored wiping out the South, recolonizing it, and establishing new state lines. He was chairman of the Committee on Reconstruction and the main politician behind the effort to impeach President Andrew Johnson. Stevens was an extreme egalitarian, who worked his entire life to reduce the distinctions between rich and poor as well as between black and white.

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