Manassas Industrial School - Jennie Dean Memorial

Historical Significance

The Manassas Industrial School/Jennie Dean Memorial is a 4.5 acre archaeological park which interprets and commemorates the history of the Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth previously located on the same site, founded by Jennie Dean in 1893.

Formerly enslaved in Prince William County, Jennie Dean became a Christian evangelist. She along with other citizens identified a need for a place of secondary education for blacks. One-room school houses and larger consolidated schools for blacks traditionally offered only a seventh grade education. Dean sought the community's support for the creation of a secondary school, beginning to raise funds in the1880's among local blacks, sympathetic whites, and northern abolitionists. More than a decade later, she chartered The Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth, a privately funded, residential institution providing academic and vocational training through Christian teachings and doctrines. The school was supported by notable individuals such as Clara Barton and Fredrick Douglass, who conducted the dedication ceremonies in front of the school's first building, Howland Hall, on September 3, 1894.

Dean wrote a book about her efforts to establish the school, A Battleground School: a Colored Woman's Work in Uplifting Negro Boys and Girls, the Story of the Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth, published in Alexandria in1901.

From 1894 to 1937 this private institution served students from Virginia and other states. In 1938, the school became a segregated regional high school for blacks operated by Fairfax, Prince William and Fauquier counties, later becoming a Prince William County high school. The original school buildings were demolished in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

Today, the Manassas Industrial School/Jennie Dean Memorial features an informational kiosk with audio programs on site and outlines of the razed buildings of Hackley Hall, Howland Hall,  Carnegie Library, and the Trades Building. 

Physical Description

The site consists of a bronze model of the school, alumni gates, historical markers, a recreation of the Carnegie arch and an information kiosk. A paved trail runs throughout the site.

Geographical and Contact Information

9601 Wellington Road
Manassas, Virginia
Phone: 703-368-1873