Mapping Georgetown: Not Only the First, But an Inspiration

Not only was Ms. Adele Dodson the very first African American student to attend Holy Trinity School, she’s a living inspiration. Her Mapping Georgetown story lifts our hearts as it adds depth to our local history.

I was so enamored and inspired by Adele’s story, Holy Trinity asked me to write an article they could share with the community. Ms. Dodson requested it be used as her Mapping Georgetown story.

Her name is Adele Dodson. As a young girl, she took herself on the trolley car down M St. to the end of the line, walked up the ‘Exorcist steps’ and then continued her walk up the street, to be the first Black child to attend Holy Trinity School. Today’s Adele Dodson has a reserved smile with a twinkle in her eye.

I can’t even imagine as a grammar school-age child, taking yourself to school, on the trolley, to the end of the line, and then walking up the Exorcist steps to Holy Trinity. Georgetown at this time was a model integrated neighborhood as told in the additional Dodson girl’s stories.

I enjoyed visiting with Ms. Dodson on a few occasions. She’s smart and projects a gentle strength. She’s also warm and personable and left me feeling like we’re new friends.

The youngest of eight children – four girls and four boys — Adele was born at 2611 Dumbarton Street and grew up next door at 2618. Her home is pictured on p. 60 in the book ‘Georgetown Remembered: A History of Its Black Community from the Founding of ‘The town of George’ in 1751 to the Present Day,’ by Lesko, Babb and Gibbs. The person in the photo is Adele’s grandmother, sitting on a bench in front of the home.

The two Georgetown neighborhood doctors lived across from each other, Dr. Dodson, Adele’s uncle, and Dr. Marshall. Dr. Dodson was also the school physician. “There weren’t any strangers in Georgetown,” she said.

Adele’s father worked at Chestnut Hill Farms Dairy, across from the M Street Bridge traversing Rock Creek. On Fridays, the dairy would share its bounty, and he would bring home cheese, butter and flour. He later worked as a messenger for Justice Felix Frankfurter and as a chauffeur for Chief Justice Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court….

For the full story, go to


We invite you to add your story to our Mapping Georgetown collection. Blank templates can be printed from the home page of, picked up from The Georgetown Public Library or by contacting

To learn more about the Mapping Georgetown project see Marilyn Butler can be reached at

We welcome any reflections you have to share. Thank you for those who have contacted us with these wonderful stories we can all enjoy and pass down. They’re such treasures for Georgetown, by Georgetown! — MB


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