Vanderbilt, Metro Nashville Historical Commission spotlight legacy of North Nashville’s Washington Junior High

A partnership of the Metro Nashville Historical Commission, Vanderbilt University and Washington Junior High School alumni succeeded in erecting a historical marker honoring the school where it once stood.  

The marker, at the intersection of 25th Avenue North and Morena Street, was a celebration of the effort to honor Black history in Nashville by preserving the legacy of the school, which was named for George E. Washington. Washington was a distinguished figure in Nashville’s educational landscape and former principal of Pearl High School.  

Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director Candice Storey Lee attended the unveiling of the marker, pledging that it will “inspire more friendships and more memories for years to come.” 

Washington Junior High School opened its doors in 1928, serving grades 7–9 and educating students in the subjects of English, history, Latin, science, math, industrial arts and music. The building was demolished in the 1980s, but the school had a lasting and influential impact on the North Nashville community.  

Over 50 alumni and elected officials, including Mayor Freddie O’Connell and District 21 Council Member Brandon Taylor joined the celebration of the marker’s unveiling, reliving stories of dedicated teachers, coaches and administrators. Among those attendance was renowned educator Joe Herbert, a member of the Metro Nashville Public Schools Hall of Fame for his contributions on the 1966 State Championship basketball team at Pearl High School. (He was a teammate of Perry Wallace, BE’70.) 

Vanderbilt University’s mission lies in the quest to bring out the best in humanity, combining education and inspiration to encourage young, diverse minds to address society’s greatest challenges in the service of others. The Washington Junior High School teachers, coaches, and administrators equipped their students with a comparable set of ideals, inspiring future leaders in the Nashville community. 

Vanderbilt University’s support of the Washington Junior High School legacy is part of its ongoing commitment to the North Nashville community, which has included collaboration on the following initiatives: