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Stephen Preskill

educator, was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, near White Sulphur Springs, the daughter of Benjamin Moten, a U.S. Patent Office clerk, and Julia Withers. Taking advantage of their status as free blacks, the Motens moved to the District of Columbia when Lucy was only a child to secure the best possible education for their precocious daughter. Lucy attended Washington's pay schools until 1862, when she was admitted to the district's first public schools for African Americans. After attending the preparatory and normal departments of Howard University, Lucy Moten began teaching in the primary grades of the local public schools and taught there continually, except for a two-year interruption, from 1870 until 1883. In 1873 Moten moved to Salem, Massachusetts, to attend the State Normal School, from which she graduated in 1875.

In 1883Frederick Douglass recommended that Moten be appointed to fill the ...


Tonia M. Compton

educator, was born Mary Smith Kelsey in Norfolk, Virginia, to parents whose names, occupations, and marital status are unknown. Peake's 1863 biographer, Lewis C. Lockwood, described her mother as “a free colored woman, very light” and her father as “an Englishman of rank and culture” (Lockwood and Forten, 6). At the age of six Mary was sent to live in Alexandria, Virginia, in order to obtain an education. She resided with her aunt and uncle, Mary and John Paine, for ten years during which time she received formal schooling and training in needlework and dressmaking. Mary attended two different schools for African American children, where she was under the tutelage of both black and white teachers.

While education for blacks was generally illegal throughout the South Mary was able to receive schooling in nearby District of Columbia Blacks were allowed this right until the adoption of a ...