13 november 1968 & eastern high school freedom annex opens
#OTD 13 November 1968 The Eastern HS Freedom Annex (907 Maryland Ave NE) opened today. Also known as the Freedom School, it is considered the first student-run public school in the U.S. The school was developed by the Modern Strivers, a student-led organization founded at Eastern HS. The goal of the school was to offer students black-centered, progressive education. Gregory Taylor and Roger Newell are two of the students active in the Modern Strivers and the founding of the Freedom Annex.
Students spend half their day at Eastern and the other half at the Freedom Annex, which is located in an annex of the former Keller Memorial Lutheran Church, which was a white congregation. There are twelve teachers, all of whom were interviewed and vetted by students.
The courses taught include “black history, Swahili, black philosophy, black literature, contemporary problems, economics, black art and drama, third world studies and community organization.”
Your comments are welcome below. Did you, family members or neighbors attend Eastern? Did you attend the Freedom Annex? Did you teach at the Freedom Annex? Do you have photographs and other materials from the Freedom Annex? Were you a member of the Modern Strivers? Do you remember Roger Newell and Gregory Taylor? Were you a member of Keller Memorial? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy Sumner School Museum & Archives. Eastern High School Rambler Yearbook, 1969.
I thank Mattie Jones and Phillip White, two students who developed a History Day presentation on the Modern Strivers & Freedom Annex, for sharing their research with me. I also thank their teacher, Cosby Hunt.
Michael Brey, “Eastern’s New School Real Cool,” Hilltop 22 November 1968, p. 4.
Ari Pomerantz, "Shule Ya Uhuru." Research Paper 17 Dec. 2011: 1-27.
”Freedom Annex,” Washington Post 22 November 1968.