Emma V. Brown

Emma V. Brown (1840-1902), a native Washingtonian, was the first African American teacher to be employed by the DC Public Schools.

Educated at Myrtilla Miner's school on N Street, NW, and at Oberlin College, she opened a private school for neighborhood children here in her home. During the summers she traveled to rural communities across the South, where she trained teachers.

When the DC Government authorized public funds to educate black children in 1864, Brown began teaching her first public school class at the Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church (now Ebenezer United Methodist Church) on Capitol Hill. She would later serve as principal of the John F. Cook School and then Sumner School. Brown was also an accomplished poet.


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