Local Public Education

In an upscale housing development near GMU, roads are named for the historic Black schools. What is the legacy of "Legacy Lane?" The answer appears in the forthcoming exhibit pages.

The Black Lives Next Door project examines segregated education in Fairfax County public schools over the course of six decades, spanning from the start of the twentieth century to the 1960s. The early period of integration (1970s) is also considered.  Four subjects are the focus of analysis: the Fairfax Rosenwald School, its nearby successor Eleven Oaks Elementary, county affirmative action programs, and the legacies of these historical developments today.

Between 1926 and 1966, the Fairfax Rosenwald School and Eleven Oaks Elementary educated Black children from the Fairfax area. These two schools had a neighbor, Green Acres Elementary, which only served white children. The three public institutions were located close to the land that became  present-day George Mason University (marked on the map below as George Mason College in 1966). School Street, also shown on the map, was the major road that passed the Rosenwald School and Eleven Oaks.  These two sites of Black education fostered academic excellence, perseverance, and determination during the Jim Crow era.

The aerial photo overlaid on a modern map reveals the now-demolished location of Eleven Oaks Elementary School, as it appeared from a flying plane in 1966.  That year Fairfax County began the process of integrating its public education system. Please click on the double arrow button in the top left of the map to toggle layers on or off.

We would like to express our gratitude to Jeff Clark, Video Production Specialist, Communication and Community Relations, Fairfax County Public Schools, for assisting us with our archival research.

The map below was created by Anne Dobberteen.

By LaNitra Berger and Alexis Massenburg


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