Nannie Helen Burroughs School

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Trades Hall of National Training School for Women and Girls
Trades Hall of National Training School for Women and Girls.jpg
The 1928 Trades Hall building
Nannie Helen Burroughs School is located in Washington, D.C.
Nannie Helen Burroughs School
Location in eastern District of Columbia
Location601 50th St., NE., Washington, D.C.
Coordinates38°53′50″N 76°55′44″W / 38.8972°N 76.9290°W / 38.8972; -76.9290Coordinates: 38°53′50″N 76°55′44″W / 38.8972°N 76.9290°W / 38.8972; -76.9290
Arealess than one acre (landmarked area)[1]
ArchitectThomas M. Medford
Architectural styleRenaissance
NRHP reference No.91002049
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 17, 1991[2]
Designated NHLJuly 17, 1991[3]

The Nannie Helen Burroughs School, formerly known as National Training School for Women and Girls, was a private coeducational elementary school at 601 50th Street NE in Washington, D.C. The school was founded in 1909 by Nannie Helen Burroughs as The National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls, Inc. and was the first school in the nation to provide vocational training for African-American females, who did not otherwise have many educational opportunities available to them. The 1928 Trades Hall building, the oldest building on the campus, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1991.[1][3] The property now houses the headquarters of the Progressive National Baptist Convention as well as the Monroe School, a private junior-senior high school that continues Burroughs' legacy.


The 1971 school building

The former Nannie Helen Burroughs School property consists of 6 acres (2.4 ha) at the southeast corner of 50th Street NE and Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE. There are four buildings on the hilly campus, of which the 1928 Trades Hall is the furthest east.

The largest building in the group is a school building built in 1971 that now houses the Monroe School. The Trades Hall now houses the offices of the Progressive Baptist National Conference. It is a two-story brick building, set into the hillside so that it presents two stories in front and one in the rear. It is finished in light brick trimmed with dark brick. A stringcourse of soldier bricks separates the floors. The building was constructed in 1927-28, and Mary McLeod Bethune was the featured speaker at its dedication.[1]


In 1908 Nannie Helen Burroughs established the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls, one of the nation's first vocational training school for African-American girls and women.

:A vocational class at the school (before 1930).

The school offered training in domestic arts and various vocations, and also gave religious instruction. It was the first school to offer all of these services in a single facility. It was also distinguished in having a stronger academic component than other period schools for African Americans, which generally focused on vocational training. It was supported by the National Baptist Convention and funded and managed entirely by African-Americans. It attracted students from as far away as Africa[1]

The school expanded its offerings in the 1920s, providing a wider array of vocational skills training. It closed briefly in 1953, but resumed operation. Nannie Helen Burroughs ran the school until her death in 1961, and in 1964 it was renamed in her honor.[1] Today, her legacy is continued by The Monroe School, Inc., which operates in a 1971 school building on the campus. The Trade School building, which was the school's main building for many years, now houses the offices of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.


Notable alumni include:

Agnes Nebo von BallmoosLiberian professor of music, scholar of Liberian folk music, conductor, composer, and lawyer

Ethel Moses – actress and dancer

Sue Bailey Thurman – author, lecturer, historian and civil rights activist

Samira Wiley - actress

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Page Putnam Miller (February 9, 1990). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Trades Hall of National Training School for Women and Girls / Nannie Helen Burroughs School" (pdf). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying three photos, exterior, from 1989 (32 KB)
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "National Training School for Women and Girls". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2008-05-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)