According to Notable Black American Women, "Lucy Ellen Moten's strong influence as an educator of black school teachers changed Washington D.C.'s entire educational system."
Moten was born in 1851 to free black parents in Virginia. They moved to Washington D.C. for better educational opportunities for her. She started out in Howard University's normal department before transferring to Salem Normal School in 1873. She graduated in 1875 and taught in schools before taking the position of principal at Miner Normal School, a training school for black elementary teachers. In 1894, she began study at the Howard University Medical School, where she received her M.D. in 1897. She then expanded Miner's curriculum to include coursework on health and hygiene. Miner's graduates were sought by state superintendents throughout the country. Moten left Miner in 1920; it is now part of the University of District Columbia. She died in 1933. There is a Washington, D.C. elementary school that bears her name.