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Adelaide M. Cromwell

educator and scholar, was born in Washington, D.C., the first child of John Wesley Cromwell and Lucy McGuinn Cromwell. Her father was a lawyer, editor of the People's Advocate, and for most of his life a teacher and principal in the district public schools. Her mother died when she was twelve, leaving this eldest of six children with a responsibility for their welfare that she would exercise for the rest of her life. Cromwell received her education in the public schools of Washington, D.C., including the M Street High School, predecessor of the well-known Dunbar High School. After graduating from the Miner Normal School in Washington, she taught for six years in the public schools before entering Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. When she completed her degree in 1900 she became the college's first African American graduate.

Upon returning to the district, Cromwell once again taught in ...