Harrison School

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Completed in 1917, Roanoke’s Harrison School is a monument to the pioneering efforts of Lucy Addison (1861-1937) to offer public academic secondary instruction to all children regardless of race. These efforts were all the more remarkable in view of Virginia’s paucity of black public high schools during this period and the prevailing educational theory that blacks should receive vocational rather than academic instruction. The first class of Roanoke’s blacks to complete four full years of high school under Miss Addison’s tutelage graduated in 1924. Designed by J.H. Page, the building is typical public-school design of the period, employing a modified Georgian format. The school closed in the 1960s with the termination of segregated schools. It was renovated for residential use in the 1980s and went on to house the Harrison Museum of African American Culture.

Last Updated: January 31, 2024

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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