Help us share the incredible story of Jennie Dean, who despite being born into slavery founded a school that was a national model for African American education during the dark days of segregation.
We ask you to contribute what you can to construct a statue of Jennie Dean and update the Manassas, Virginia Memorial park dedicated in her honor. The bronze statue, which will be a centerpiece of the Memorial and a touchstone visible in the surrounding neighborhood, is designed to be an interactive focal point. Sculptor Chris Hill hopes that people will take her hand and wear away its patina so that when it begins to polish and shine, it will reflect the engagement Jennie Dean continues to inspire in the community.
Jennie Dean’s Manassas Industrial School educated thousands of high school students in trades and academics from its founding in 1893 through the 1930s. Many former students went on to successful careers in teaching, medicine and other professional occupations, while others became respected tradesmen and tradeswomen. Miss Jennie was a tireless fundraiser, connecting with philanthropists in New York and Boston to make her dream a reality.
The present Jennie Dean Memorial, located on the original site of the Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth (9601 Wellington Road in Manassas, Virginia) was dedicated in 1995 and includes aging replicated foundations, an information kiosk, and a model of the original campus with parking and gravel walkways. Besides the statue, Phase One of the $350,000 update project includes a surrounding plaza with enhanced landscaping. Future plans call for connected walking paths, an updated interpretive kiosk and signage, and an amphitheater for community use.
We appreciate any donation that will help us build the statue and ensure that the story of the extraordinary Miss Jennie Dean will not be lost to history.