Manassas Industrial School/Jennie Dean Memorial

Jennie Dean statue Jennie Dean Memorial JD Snowy Sunday Photo 3 - Copy (2)
The History
This five-acre archaeological site, dedicated in 1995, is located on the original site of the Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth. The school was founded largely through the efforts of former slave Jennie Dean who, after almost a decade of charismatic fundraising, chartered the school on October 7, 1893. The school was designed as a private residential institution providing both academic and vocational training within a Christian setting. See a new statue of Miss Dean, linger in the surrounding courtyard, and read new interpretive signs at the Memorial.

The school’s first building, Howland Hall, was completed in time for the dedication ceremonies conducted by Frederick Douglass on September 3, 1894. Despite numerous setbacks from catastrophic fires, the school grew. By the turn of the century, over 150 students attended the school’s three-term academic year, which lasted from October through May.

Academic Instruction
Courses were offered in mathematics, natural sciences, geography, physiology, music, literature, and English. Vocational instruction included:

For Boys:  For Girls: 
  • Carpentry
  • Blacksmithing
  • Wheel wrighting
  • Mattress making
  • Mechanical drawing
  • Agriculture
  • Sewing
  • Cooking
  • Domestic Arts
  • Household Arts
  • Patch Work
  • Laundry Methods
  • Painting
  • Cobbling
  • Shoe making
  • Animal husbandry

Overcoming constant financial challenges, the school survived as a private institution until the 1930s. In 1937 the public school systems of Fairfax, Fauquier, and Prince William counties formed a joint board of control and purchased 100 acres of land and all the buildings from the Manassas Industrial School to establish a regional high school for African-American students. The landscaped four-acre memorial park features the Jennie Dean statue and surrounding plaza, and an exhibit kiosk with interpretive panels. Visitors can sense where the buildings once stood through concrete outlines of campus building foundations, and a bronze three-dimensional model of the original school campus.
Learn more about the MIS/Jennie Dean Memorial Update Project

The Manassas Industrial School/Jennie Dean Memorial is located at 9601 Wellington Road and is open from sunrise to sunset daily.  The site is free to the public.  For more information, please contact the Museum at 703-368-1873.

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