Sumnerite African-American History Museum and
Multipurpose Center

 1016 Avery St, P.O. Box 4426
Parkersburg, West Virginia 26104
(304) 428-0503

 If You Respect Your History, Then You Respect Yourself

The Historic Sumner School

Sumner High School, established in 1862, was the first free school in West Virginia, two years before the state had a public school system.

A handful of farsighted businessmen envisioned a school where learning was free. These men were Robert W. Simmons, Matthew Thomas, Robert Thomas, William Smith and William Sargent.

Following through with their dream, they founded a school where children of their race could attend without charge, the first not only in the city and the state, but also the entire South. Robert W. Simmons, a barber by trade, rode horseback to the nation's capital and secured the support needed to open the school from President Abraham Lincoln. Simmons is the great grandfather of Sumnerite Ms. Ellen Lacy, Class of '29.



Join us for the Annual Sumner Summer Festival Jazz & Rib Fest!
3rd Weekend in September