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Welcome to The Sumner-7 Project


The mission of the Sumner -7 Project is to preserve the legacy and history of one of the earliest and more successful self-start African American education initiatives that began months before West Virginia statehood.

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About The Sumner-7 Project


Our vision is to continue the important work the Sumner 7 started in 1862 of educating young minds by providing access and opportunity and turning it into reality by achieving the following: 1) Continue the school’s legacy of providing educational opportunities, 2) have all West Virginia public schools add the story of Sumner High School as part of their African American/U.S history curricula 3) Collaborate with outside entities to provide scholarships and education assistance for ACT/SAT/MCAT/LSAT and other standardized tests preparation for students seeking higher education. By accomplishing the stated goals this will help students realize their full potential by equipping them with the ability to make significant contributions to society.

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History of Sumner High School

The Parkersburg Colored School was started in 1862 by seven brave African American men who risked their lives and liberty so that their children and community could have a chance of a better life by receiving a formal education. The school later changed its name to Sumner High School after the famed abolitionist and Massachusetts Senator.


The spirit of the can-do attitude, the forethought, and realization of the importance of educating young minds, despite many challenges put before them, was demonstrated throughout its entire 93 years of existence by its faculty, teachers, and students. From their examples, we have learned, and still relevant today, that education then and now is an important catalyst to create more productive life choices, livelihoods, and generational wealth in knowledge. Although the school is no longer in existence today we continue to propagate its national importance in the United States American History. May we never forget…

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Sumner Students 1900
Sumner HS Teachers
JR Jefferson
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1902 SH Football Team
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Sumner girls bball
Sumner bball
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Sumner in Pictures

About the Author & Founder of the Sumner-7 Project

A critical thinker, detail-oriented, and decisive leader eloquently describe the persona of Dr. Michael J. Rice. This education maven has spent most of his professional career working with students of all ages. His passion for education culminated in his debut literary work, The Sumner 7: A History of Sumner High School Parkersburg, WV. Dr. Rice earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University and works in a directorship role in medical school admissions in Pennsylvania.

"Parkersburg native publishes book on historic Sumner School" Brandon Lewis-WTAP News

Contact Us

Phone: 740.258.2452

Please contact us for information, book signings, and speaking engagements.

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