Myrtilla Miner

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Myrtilla Miner

Myrtilla Miner (March 4, 1815, near Brookfield, New York – December 17, 1864, Washington, DC) was an American educator and abolitionist whose school for African Americans, established against considerable opposition, grew to a successful and long-lived teachers institution.

Miner was educated at the Clover Street Seminary in Rochester, New York (1840–44), and taught at various schools, including the Newton Female Institute (1846–47) in Whitesville, Mississippi, where she was refused permission to conduct classes for African American girls. In 1851, with encouragement from Henry Ward Beecher and with a board of trustees which included Johns Hopkins and other Quaker philanthropists, Miner opened the Normal School for Colored Girls in Washington, DC. The school was eventually merged with other local institutions to form the University of the District of Columbia.

Miner guided the school through its fruitful early years but had to lessen her connection because of failing health. In 1857, Emily Howland took over leadership of the school and in 1861 Miner went to California in an attempt to regain her health. A carriage accident in 1864 ended that hope and Miner died shortly after her return to Washington, DC.

Miner Elementary School in Washington, DC is named in her honor.

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