The first stop on the tour was Armstrong Tech on O Street, between 1st and 2nd Streets, in Shaw.
Every 10 years, the class meets to reflect, share old memories and return to their school.
"Neckties, khaki pants and a crisp shirt. We dressed when we went to school," recalled Samuel "Jack Green. "Notice the two doors on P St. -- the first door was for the boys, and the other side was for the girls."
In 1951, the year the group graduated, the Municipal Court of Appeals ruled that racial segregation in restaurants was illegal in Washington, D.C. That same year seven black men in Martinsville, Va., were sentenced to execution for the rape of a white woman. The United States was engaged in the Korean War, and Eric Holder, the first African-American U.S. attorney general, was born.
Named after Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong, (who led a contingent of African-American soldiers during the Civil War), the Armstrong Manual Training school was built in 1902, and focused on vocational arts. Academics were included in the curriculum in 1928 and the school became Armstrong High School. The historic irony is that the black regiment was kept separate from the white troops during the Civil War and Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, kept black and white school children separate.
"It was so segregated there were only four high schools African Americans could attend, Armstrong, Phelps, Margaret Washington and Dunbar," said Samuel Green. "We were a Division 2 school, white schools were Division 1. They sent us all the hand-me-down books."
The case that would end school segregation, Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka, did not happen until 1954 -- three years after the class of 1951 graduated. Still the pain from separate but equal is not forgotten. Green's wife Shirley (attended Cardozo) accompanied him on the tour of the school. She remembers the pain of segregation.
"I hold on to it. I can get along with the devil if I have to. But when you see it, it comes back to you," she said. "Kids [today] don't see color, they just see another kid."
The racial climate in this country now is vastly different from when these students attended Armstrong, and this tour occurred a week before the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. The significance is not lost on the group.
"I would never have believed it [if someone told me], a King Memorial and a black president," said Sharpe.
"I never thought I'd live to see a black president," Green added.
While the gathering takes place every 10 years, it's not just about past memories.
"We are a school that has been closed since 1958, but this year we raised $16,500 and sent 16 kids to college," said Green.
Leon Drake, a former class president agreed.
"Our sole purpose is to give money to the Armstrong Alumni Association, which provides thousands of dollars in scholarships annually to students," Drake said.
James Nero, chairman of the anniversary committee, and also former class president, led the tour.
"We're here to help the youth. We're still growing minds through education," said Nero.
After a walk through the school, members of the class boarded the bus for a tour of several surrounding neighborhoods. The bus pulled away from the school, their destination - the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum.
Though Nero led the tour with a veteran tour guide, this was his very first tour.
"As we make a right turn, the house on the left side 1222 First St. was on the market for $194,000 but closed at $206,500. It's part of the market in Washington, houses are often listed for one price but sold for much higher."
As the bus liner glided through the streets, passengers pointed out familiar places like Daddy Grace's Church (United House of Prayer), the Griffith Stadium site, land where the old Lansburg and Hecht Co. warehouse buildings once were, and a ball field in Shaw where children were playing football.
"That's those 'ankle babies'. We didn't have uniforms like that," chimed Samuel Green. The passengers erupted in laughter. "That was the white field when we were segregated."
The journey ended with a lecture from African American Civil War Memorial and Museum curator Harry Jones and tour around the museum. Just as the memorabilia in this museum represents the contributions of African Americans in the Civil War, Armstrong alumnus Samuel Green extols and recommends another more personal collection of artifacts at the Charles Sumner School Museum Archives.
"Please go to Sumner school and review the artifacts," he said.
The Charles Sumner School Museum Archives, located at 1201 17th St., houses the District of Columbia public schools' archives, including yearbooks and memorabilia from Armstrong Tech.
Armstrong Tech is now Community Academy Public Charter School (CAPCS), and Armstrong alumnus Leon Drake worked to help save the building.
"This property is very valuable. Developers wanted to tear it down but the alumni worked with the Kent Amos, owner of the charter school, went to the city council to protest," Drake said. "We thought it would be nice to keep the building up."