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‘Moving in the right direction:’ Old Ashburn Colored School receives historical marker

Teacher Anthony Dodson and his seventh-grade students unveil a marker recognizing the history of the Old Ashburn Colored School. Times-Mirror/Karen Graham
Loudoun County received its newest historical marker Tuesday as the result of a student-led effort to commemorate the Old Ashburn Colored Schoolhouse on Ashburn Road.

Farmwell Station school students in Anthony Dodson's seventh grade social studies class applied for the marker earlier this year with the support of a grant from the Loudoun Education Foundation and the Claude Moore Charitable Trust. The competitive and lengthy application process provided an educational experience for the class and taught them how to do in-depth research and use multiple sources.

The sign was approved by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources in March.

“There are high standards to reach to be approved. This is one of our most popular grassroots programs in Virginia,” said Randall Jones, a Virginia Board of Historic Resources spokesman.

At Tuesday's ceremony, student Ben Bressette described how the Old Ashburn Colored School was constructed around 1892 to serve African-American students during the era of public school segregation. The school closed in 1958 when “its students were transferred to a new segregated school in Leesburg,” according to the marker.

Public school segregation was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954 in Brown v. the Board of Education. Virginia's government resisted integration of public schools and Loudoun County schools were fully desegregated by the 1968-69 school year.

Student Ashlee Brown said the marker highlights institutional inequalities during segregation when “schools for black children received less funding and offered fewer educational opportunities than those for whites.”

Clyde Smith, chairman of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, thanked the students and Dodson for their efforts.

“We are moving in the right direction. This has brought the community together,” Smith said, referring to the vandalism at the school last year that helped raise $100,000 to restore the school, which located on the site of the Loudoun School for the Gifted.

There are around 2,500 historical markers in Virginia and about 38 in Loudoun, according to Jones. The historic marker program began in 1927, and there are about 30-40 approved each year out of 60-100 or more applications.

Dr. Eric Williams, superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools, also praised the class for their hard work.

“You have made a tangible difference through your work,” said Williams. “You will continue to make meaningful contributions to the world. Not only are the students an inspiration, but you are an inspiration as their teacher.”


The founding fathers advocated for freedom; that eventually became the hallmark for abolition. The arc of their lives was a noble promotion of freedom.

There was nothing noble about the Confederate cause, which was based solely around the preservation of slavery. That’s it. They were absolutely fighting to keep people in bondage, and all arguments to the contrary are distortions of the historical record.

The story could have mentioned the people and organizations that restored the building, such as the Loudoun School for the Gifted and Boy Scouts.  See

Duncan_Idaho: When will we be removing the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial? Surely we shouldn’t build monuments to Slave Masters using your logic.

It’s right to celebrate those who overcame oppression, not those who tried to enforce it.

Well done kids and Mr. Dodson!

So, hopefully no one will want these removed in the future on the possibility some will view them ‘offensive”. Good and bad events in our history are important to remember. This is one worth noting for the community. Well done kids!

Great job kids!

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