EARLY HISTORY OF BANNEKER SCHOOL
For many years, the two room African American school in Middleburg and the one room school in St. Louis had overcrowded conditions. Often the school in Middleburg had an enrollment of over 100, and the St. Louis school ranged from sixty to seventy-two. In 1944, the parents, under the leadership of Dr. Maurice Edmead of Middleburg, asked the school board to relieve them of this situation. After several years, the school board decided to purchase 19 acres of land in St. Louis, which is located six miles west of Middleburg. A fireproof building consisting of six classrooms, a multi-purpose room, a clinic, and a kitchen, was built on this property. The classrooms were furnished with used desks, a teacher’s desk, and tables. The P.T.A., with the help of some benevolent friends, equipped the kitchen and the multi-purpose room.
On March 31, 1948, the children and faculty of the Middleburg, St. Louis, and Mountville schools, with an approximate enrollment of 185 students, entered the beautiful brick building for the first time. Only five rooms were used as classrooms. A few years later the children from Bull Run School in Aldie were admitted to Banneker. When the enrollment increased the school board added three more classrooms, enlarged the kitchen, and converted a classroom to an office. In 1960, Willisville School was closed and the children were transported to Banneker. The enrollment increased again, and five more classrooms were added.
The school was named for the famous Benjamin Banneker who constructed the first clock made entirely in America in 1753, and who was part of the surveying team who laid out the city of Washington, DC, in 1791. When the school was integrated in September 1968, the school board wanted to change the name from Banneker to Mercer, but the St. Louis community asked the board to keep the Banneker name. After due deliberation, the board decided to keep the original name.
Courtesy of Mrs. Ethel Smith
Added note: Banneker is the only existing African American school in Loudoun County still operating as an elementary school.