Ruby Oram Presents Successful National Register Nomination
On February 24, PhD student Ruby Oram presented her National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Lucy Flower Technical High School for Girls to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The school is located in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago and was built in 1927. It functioned as the city’s only all-girl public school from 1927-1978 and the second vocational school for women in the nation. It was also racially-integrated from its founding: civil rights activist Ida B. Wells sent her daughters there. As a “technical” school for girls, Flower Tech provided very gender-specific job training in fields like dressmaking, millinery, nursing, beauty culture, and institutional cookery, as well as required home economics coursework for future wives and mothers. Today, the building serves as Al Raby High School.
Following her presentation, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency unanimously approved Oram's nomination. Her success makes the Lucy Flower Technical High School for Girls one of the only National Register locations in the state associated with women’s history specifically. "Women's history is largely invisible in Chicago's built environment because sites associated with the lives and accomplishments of women have not been deemed “historically significant” in the past," Oram explained. "Nominating Flower Tech to the National Register of Historic Places felt like an important project to me for this reason. The school was the product of activism by female settlement house workers, club women, and educators who advocated for the vocational schooling of girls...My hope was to preserve, in some small way, the histories of these women and girls in the city's landscape."