How Did Your School Get It's Name? (Ten schools named after African-Americans)

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FNN CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY: FEB. 20, 2014.  All throughout DC, there are schools named after people who were important in Black History. This is important to know because it shows how people care about how blacks have helped and what they contributed to our nation.

The school Kelly Miller is named after the African-American man, Kelly Miller. Miller attended Howard University in 1886. He was the first African-American to attend Johns Hopkins University where he began his graduate studies in mathematics, physics and astronomy. This is interesting because at this time it was still hard to get recognized as a smart African-American.

The next school is Thurgood Marshall. Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Marshall ended legal segregation in the United States by taking cases to the Supreme Court to desegregate schools. Mr. Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1908. Thurgood wanted to be a judge, so in 1930 he applied to the University of Maryland Law School, but was denied admission because he was Black. This event made him want to work harder toward his future professional life. Thurgood was accepted into Howard University Law School that same year.

Mary Church Terrell was born on September 23, 1863. Terrell was one of the first African American women to get a college degree in 1884. Four years after, she got her masters degree. She also became interested in women's rights. Terrell helped end segregation in restaurants. She changed lives for women and others by taking on things head first.

Malcolm X challenged the civil rights movement and tried to help blacks defend themselves against whites. Also Malcolm changed his last name to X as a rejection of his slave name. Malcolm dropped out of school and started committed petty crimes in Harlem New York and then spent seven years in jail for burglary. Although Malcolm was in jail, he later got out and joined the Nation of Islam and became an activist.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was known as a man who marched for equal rights for blacks in a non-violent way. Somethings you may not know about MLK is that he went to a majority white school and was one of the 11 blacks there. He also entered Morehouse College at 15, and then later attended the University of Bostan. At age 35, he became the youngest man to earn the Nobel Peace Prize. He donated the prize money of $54,123 to the civil rights movement.

Paul Laurence Dunbar was an African-American who wrote short stories in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Paul was one of the first black writers to try and make a living from writing. He was know as an African American symbol for his writing. Paul died on February 9, 1906 from Tuberculosis.

Benjamin Banneker is an African American who was born in Maryland . He was a former slave who was self taught. Banneker taught himself mathematics and astronomy. At age 58, Banneker began the study of astronomy and was soon predicting future solar and lunar eclipses. In 1791, Banneker was a technical assistant who calculated first-ever survey of the Federal District, which is now Washington, D.C. Banneker died on Sunday, October 9, 1806 at the age of 74. There was a postage stamp made in his honor in 1980.

Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Maryland. Tubman escaped to Philadelphia on foot, got a job, settled and then returned to the South 13 times to escort hundreds of people seeking freedom to the North on the underground railroad. She boasted she never lost a passenger. Harriet Tubman died March 10, 1913.

Duke Ellington was an African American composer. He was born and raised in Washington DC. He was also one of the greatest jazz piano players ever. He died in 1974 on May 24th. Over 12,000 people went to his funeral. His last words were, “Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered.

Lastly, Howard Dilworth Woodson was active in city-wide efforts to improve all aspects of city life in the District. Woodson concentrated his efforts in the far Northeast section of the the city including the Deanwood neighborhood. He moved into the area in 1913 and for the remainder of his life was the foremost leader in the effort to provide school, sewer and water systems. In conclusion, all these people did something in history that made a change for the better. By doing these things they had a school named after them. This should encourage students to look at the history of their schools.

Katrina Smith is a sophomore at Friendship Tech Prep Academy.