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A Window into Alexandria History: The Carver School

The Carver Nursery School, a segregated school for African American children. (Photo courtesy Steve Cohen)

By Steve Cohen, ABC

Alexandria, VA – The Carver School was constructed in 1944 as a wooden structure with support from the National Defense Housing Act of 1941. During World War II, it operated as a segregated school for African American children and received federal funding. However, in February 1946, as federal assistance declined, the two teachers, Lucille G. Smith and Velma D. Leigh, were told they must perform all janitorial duties, including daily cleaning and furnace maintenance. This requirement did not apply to white teachers at other Alexandria schools. As a result, both teachers resigned within days. The school closed in 1950, and the building became American Legion Post 129, named for William Thomas, the first local African American killed in World War I combat. By 2010, the neglected building was dilapidated, but in 2014, it narrowly escaped demolition and was preserved.

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