Early black institution in Alexandria, Virginia existed when Alexandria was part of Washington, D.C., prior to 1847 as Alexandria County. After Alexandria was returned to Virginia, the southern laws of educating Blacks adversely affected Black education. Many blacks who were free went undercover to pursue their educational dreams. Schooling took place in free black households and in black churches.
During the civil war and soon after the civil war, the Freedmen Bureau and Northerners provided schools and teachers to teach the newly freed colored people. By 1870, the first black public schools were established Snowden School for boys and Hallowell school for girls. These schools provided the basic elementary education. During the early 20th century, black educators of both black schools and concerned citizens from the black community wanted to have a new school building with higher grades for both black girls and black boys. In 1920, Parker-Gray School opened for black students. This web site will discuss early black education from 1860 – 1965 with focus on Snowden, Hallowell and Parker-Gray Schools.