Elizabeth G. Randall Junior High School (Cardozo School)

Built in 1906, the Randall School represents an important era in African American education in DC.

The Randall School, established in 1906 as the Cardozo Elementary School, became a junior high school in 1927 and was repeatedly expanded to meet the educational needs of Southwest DC’s African American community. Originally named the Francis L. Cardozo Elementary School, after the celebrated African American educator (1836-1907), the school adhered to the policy of racial and gender segregation in the District of Columbia school system.

In 1927, three years after the newly established Randall Junior High School switched places with the Francis L. Cardozo School in a strategic move to accommodate its growing student body, two wings were constructed on the 1906 building. Designed by Municipal Architect L. Harris, the wings added space for classrooms and a combined auditorium and gymnasium. This expansion was part of the nationwide trend in the 1920s to convert elementary schools to junior high schools.

The Randall Junior High School stands as one of the few extant buildings associated with the pre-urban renewal history of southwest Washington. Although no longer functioning as a school, the original building and its 1927 wings illustrate an important aspect of the history of African American education. The school is an excellent example of a 20th-century African American school that continuously served the community of southwest Washington during its years of operation. Additionally, the building serves as a reminder of the cultural and social role that schools played in the 20th-century development of African American communities. The building not only exemplifies early design standards for school buildings, but it also reflects the transition in the school system from elementary schools to junior high schools.

DC Inventory: March 22, 2007
National Register: December 22, 2008



65 I Street, SW