Via OHA, Alexandria’s newest historical marker was dedicated this past Saturday, October 17, in the 1200 block of Madison Street. Dozens of former graduates from the two Parker Gray High School buildings turned out for a ceremony marking the site of the second school, once located at 1207 Madison Street, but also paid tribute to the first school, built in 1920 for African American pupils in grades 1 through 8.
In 1932, that school on Wythe Street (now the location of the Charles Houston Recreation Center) added upper grades allowing students to attend high school in Alexandria rather than traveling to the District of Columbia. Despite the segregated status of the two Parker-Gray High School buildings, the love, camaraderie and positive memories shared between those who attended the dedication on Saturday was nothing short of remarkable. Former students, dressed to the nines, talked about their amazing teachers and staff at the schools who provided not just an education, but valued life lessons in how to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams with faith and dignity. Although no longer standing, the two school buildings remain in their hearts as an amazing legacy in the history of Alexandria and it is hope that the new marker will help inspire generations of students yet to come. 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the last graduating class of Parker Gray, named for educators John Parker and Sarah Gray.