Preserving Black History Legacies: Dorothy Hamm Middle School

Samantha Malott
Sam Brown
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Preserving Black History Legacies

Quinn Evans has been involved with a series of extraordinary projects to preserve the invaluable legacy of African Americans whose experiences and achievements have enriched our country, often at a great personal sacrifice. Protecting these places enables immersive visitor education and engagement with the past, perpetuating the immeasurable impact these events have had on our continued quest for equality.

Dorothy Hamm Middle School

This historic school carries an educational and socially progressive legacy as one of the first public schools in Virginia to fully desegregate after the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Today, an ambitious expansion and renovation project is underway, renewing Stratford Middle School to accommodate 1,300 students. The modernized facility will promote the values of respect and diversity for all cultures, as well as technology and information literacy, learning through making, and sustainability. Quinn Evans' design team facilitated rigorous community engagement with this project through a series of public meetings and school board work sessions. Based on the recommendation from the project community’s naming committee, the school will be renamed Dorothy Hamm Middle School in fall 2019.  

Dorothy Hamm was an Arlington civil rights activist who worked to end segregation in the local school. Following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, she joined a 1956 civil action case that successfully challenged the Pupil Placement Act, a statute designed to delay integration under the guise of compliance. Her efforts helped Stratford Junior High School become one of the first Virginia schools to become desegregated. She continued her efforts for equality through challenging Virginia’s poll tax and segregation of Arlington theaters. Hamm was also politically active as a delegate for the 1964 Arlington County and state conventions, an assistant registrar and chief election officer in Arlington’s Woodlawn precinct, and an organizer for the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). She was recognized for her dedication in 1982 with the first Arlington County Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service, in 2002 by the Virginia House of Delegates, and in 2010 by the Library of Virginia as an African American Trailblazer.

The former Stratford Junior High School in 1956.
Outdoor interpretive panels allow today's students to "walk alongside" the trailblazing students who integrated the school.
Imagery throughout the building honors the school's history.
The reverse side of the outdoor interpretive panels.

Click here to visit the Library of Virginia’s webpage dedicated to the accomplishments of Dorothy Hamm.

More posts in this series

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Preserving Black History Legacies: Maggie L. Walker Governor's School

Preserving Black History Legacies: Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park

Preserving Black History Legacies: Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site

Preserving Black History Legacies: Pullman National Monument Visitor Center

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