Nichols Avenue Elementary/Birney School Site, 2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE
The first school on this site, James G. Birney Elementary, was constructed in 1889 to serve African-American families from the Hillsdale neighborhood. The school was named for a white abolitionist lawyer from Kentucky (1792-1857) who was active in the American Colonization Society, which advocated freeing slaves and resettling them in Liberia, Africa. The first school on this site was built in 1899. The next building, constructed in 1901, served until 1950, when the third school on the site, and the current one in use, was built. It was renamed in 1962. In addition as its use as a school, Nichols Avenue Elementary has served as a neighborhood library and community center. During World War I, it was used for entertaining servicemen. The building was saved from demolition by community activists in the 1970s; remodeled and expanded, it has served since 2005 as the Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School.