Myrtilla Miner (1815-1864), a pioneer for Black female education, established the “Normal School for Colored Girls,” also known as the “Miner School for Girls” in 1851; its eventual large, three-story, symmetrically-massed Colonial Revival brick structure was built in 1914 and designed by Snowden Ashford (1866-1927) and Leon Dessez (1858-1918). Miner 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 Normal School was one of the first high schools for Black women.
Miner Teachers College and its predecessor, Miner Normal School, played a significant role in the development of the Black school system in DC 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.
DC Inventory: January 16, 1991
National Register: October 11, 1991