Industrial School & Jennie Dean Memorial

Manassas Industrial SchoolPlease join us for a livestream of the Jennie Dean statue unveiling on Saturday, October 24 at 10 a.m.
on Facebook.

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.

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 an exhibit kiosk with audio program and interpretive panels. Visitors can obtain a sense of where the buildings once stood through concrete outlines of campus building foundations, and a bronze three-dimensional model of the original school campus. The memorial is located at
9601 Wellington Road
Manassas, VA 20110

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