Historical marker unveiled for African American school house in Strasburg, Va.

Historical marker unveiled for African American school house in Strasburg, Va.
Historical marker placed by Sunset Hill Elementary School in Strasburg. (Source: WHSV)

SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - A historical marker was unveiled Saturday at Sunset Hill Elementary School, a school for African American and some Latino students during the segregation period in Strasburg.

Sunset Hill was built around 1930 for students grades 1st through 7th. It was the second school for African American children in Strasburg. The first was Queen Street School, which burned down in 1929.

Sunset Hill alumni and members of the community gathered, in Strasburg Market Square to honor alumni, listen to speakers, gather in prayer and song, and tell the Sunset Hill story.

“That this story is not just a story of African American students that went to an African American school. But now that you’ve heard it, it has certainly become your story and we thank you for that. And we thank you for coming here to listen,” Laura Marquetta Witherall Mitchell, a Sunset Hill alumna, said.

Mitchell said the resources at Sunset Hill were below standard, but she adds a lot of alumni experienced great joy while attending the school.

Along with alumni speakers, Congressman Ben Cline, Shenandoah County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson, and Strasburg Council Member Emily Reynolds made remarks.

While attending Sunset Hill, the alumni didn’t have a means of transportation. On Saturday, the alumni all rode on a school bus provided by Shenandoah County Public Schools up to Sunset Hill School, for the first time.

While at the historical marker, alumni remembered the teachers who taught at Sunset Hill. There are no consistent records of teachers or students who attended Sunset Hill, but they are present in the memories of alumni.

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