The Miner Building is a large, three-story, symmetrically-massed Colonial Revival brick structure that served as the home of Miner Normal School and Miner Teachers College, centers for the training of Washington's African American teachers for almost 80 years. It was built between 1913 and 1914 by Leon E. Dessez, under the supervision of Snowden Ashford.
The building is named for Myrtilla Miner, a pioneer for the education of Negro women for the teaching profession, who was a catalyst in the establishment of teacher training programs for Black Washingtonians. She believed Black education was a national, rather than a local, problem. As an early advocate for the use of public funds for Black schools, she argued for equality in education long before it was widely recognized as a major issue.
Miner Teachers College (1929) and its predecessor, Miner Normal School, played a significant role in the development of the Black school system in the District of Columbia in the years from 1890 to the mid- 1950s, when Miner graduates had a virtual monopoly on teaching jobs in Black schools. As the number of Miner graduates increased, many found jobs in Black schools in other parts of the country, effectively expanding the extent of the school's influence.
In recent years, the building has been used for a broad range of community education programs, in addition to the teacher-training classes, which have been continuously offered there since it opened in 1914.
DC Inventory: January 16, 1991
National Register: October 11, 1991