Union Street School

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The 1883 Union Street School, located on the northern edge of the Loudoun County seat of Leesburg, is an intact example of an African American schoolhouse operated during the Jim Crow era of segregation. The Leesburg Training School, as it was known during the 1930s, stands as testimony to the fallacy of the “separate but equal” doctrine used to justify racial segregation in numerous aspects of Virginian life from the late 19th century through the late 1960s. Union Street School originally was constructed as an elementary school to replace the varied assortment of grade schools established by the Freedmen’s Bureau, and later supported by churches, benevolent societies, and local community groups to ensure African American children received access to public education.  Most remarkable is the school’s still little-altered condition since its closure in 1959. Having never received system upgrades such as heating, air conditioning, hot water, or a modern lighting system, the Union Street School stands as a witness to the conditions offered to the African American community before the end of segregation.

Last Updated: February 2, 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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