Dunbar High School (Washington, D.C.)
Dunbar High School Location 1301 New Jersey Ave NW
Information School type Public high school Established 1870 Principal Stephen Jackson Grades 9-12 Enrollment 807 Campus Urban Color(s) Red and Black Mascot Crimson Tide Information 202-673-7233 Website School Website
Dunbar High School is a public secondary school located in Washington, D.C., United States. The school is located in the Truxton Circle neighborhood of Northwest Washington, two blocks from the intersection of New Jersey and New York Avenues. Dunbar, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Originally named Preparatory High School for Colored Youth and later known as M Street High School, the name was changed in honor of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Founded as an educational mission at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Dunbar was America's first high school for black students. It was later the academic high school, with other schools related to vocational or technical training goals. It was known for its excellent academics, enough so that some black parents moved to Washington specifically so their children could attend it. Its faculty was paid well by the standards of the time, earning parity pay to Washington's white school teachers because they were federal employees. It also boasted a remarkably high number of graduates who went on to higher education, and a generally successful student body.
It is similar to Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Baltimore, Maryland and Fort Worth, Texas, as all three schools have a majority African American student body and are of a major importance to the local African American community. All three schools are also highly regarded for their athletic programs within their respective school district in the sports of Football, Basketball, and Track. There is also a Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky.
Since its inception, the school has graduated many well-known figures of the 20th century, including Sterling Brown, H. Naylor Fitzhugh, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Charles R. Drew, Charles Hamilton Houston, Robert H. Terrell, and Robert C. Weaver. Its illustrious faculty included Anna Julia Cooper, Kelly Miller, Mary Church Terrell, and Carter G. Woodson. Among its principals were Anna J. Cooper, Richard Greener, Mary Jane Patterson, and Robert H. Terrell. An unusual number of teachers and principals held Ph.D. degrees, including Carter G. Woodson, father of Black history Month and the second African American to earn a Phd. from Harvard (after W. E. B. Du Bois). This was the result of the entrenched white supremacy that pervaded the nation's professions and served to exclude the majority of African-American women and men from faculty positions at predominantly white institutions of higher learning. As a consequence, however, Dunbar High School was considered the nation's best high school for African Americans during the first half of the 20th century. It helped make Washington, DC, an educational and cultural capital.
Following desegregation and demolition of the original facility, the school's prestige dropped notably. As of 2006, the campus is situated in a newer, but, to some, far less architecturally appealing, facility in Northwest Washington. In 2007, the school board transferred management of Dunbar to Friends of Bedford, a private New York-based company. It in turn, removed Stephen Jackson as principal at the end of the spring 2010 semester. However, conditions at the school deteriorated, along with political motivation and on December 8, 2010, the Friends of Bedford contract was terminated, and Jackson reinstated as principal.
Dunbar competes in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association, and its football team historically has been strong. Some of Dunbar's recent graduates have gone on to play in NCAA football and the NFL. Joshua Cribbs, who graduated in 2001, was the starting quarterback for four years at Kent State University. He is a member of the Cleveland Browns. Vernon Davis, who graduated in 2003, was the number six pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. He is now a tight end for the San Francisco 49ers.
Recently, some Dunbar graduates play football at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Dunbar graduates wide receiver Arrelious Benn of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defensive back and Vernon Davis' brother Vontae Davis of the Miami Dolphins and defensive back Nate Bussey have all played for Ron Zook. The other outstanding wide receiver that played alongside Benn, Isiah Thomas attends Hampton University.
During the 2004-2005 school year, Dunbar had 1500 students .
- 98% were African American
- 1% was Hispanic American
- Less than 1% were Asian American
- Less than 1% were Native American
- Less than 1% were European American
Approximately 46% of students qualified for free or reduced lunch.
Feeder elementary schools include:
- J. F. Cook
Feeder middle schools include:
Feeder K-8 schools include:
- Walker-Jones Education Center
Notable graduates include:
Scholars and artists
- Sterling Allen Brown, African-American professor
- Mary P. Burrill, educator and playwright
- Nannie Helen Burroughs, African American educator, orator, religious leader and businesswoman
- Elizabeth Catlett, a prominent African-American sculptor and artist.
- Anna J. Cooper, one of the most prominent African American scholars in United States history
- Kelly Miller, an African American mathematician, sociologist, essayist, newspaper columnist
- May Miller, playwright
- Willis Richardson, playwright
- Mary Church Terrell, suffragist and civil rights activist, as well as one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree
- Carter G. Woodson, an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
- Allison Davis, Anthropologist, educator, scholar-first African American to hold full faculty position at a major white institution-University of Chicago
- Billy Taylor, jazz pianist
- Frank Coleman, professor of physics, founder of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.
- Oscar J. Cooper, physician, founder of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.
- Vantile Whitfield, influential arts administrator
- Arrelious Benn, wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Joshua Cribbs, NFL player for the Cleveland Browns
- Vernon Davis, NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers
- Vontae Davis, NFL player for the Miami Dolphins
- John Duren, NBA player and 19th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz
- Tre Kelley, former basketball player for the University of South Carolina
- Nat Whitmyer, (NFL) First professional football player to graduate from Dunbar in 1958. (LA Rams/SD Chargers)
- Andrew P. Chambers, 3-Star General, US Army
- Edward Brooke, first African American to be elected by popular vote to the United States Senate
- Vincent C. Gray, chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia and mayor of Washington D.C.
- Charles Hamilton Houston, Howard Law School Dean and NAACP Litigation Director
- Eleanor Holmes Norton, Delegate to Congress
- Robert C. Weaver, served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Business, religion and professionals
- Charles R. Drew, discovered of blood plasma and first black surgeon to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery
- H. Naylor Fitzhugh, credited with creating the concept of target marketing
- ^ Turque, Bill (December 9, 2010). "Dunbar High's private operator is dropped". Washington Post: p. B1.
- ^ Shinhoster Lamb, Yvonne (2005-01-23). "Arts Administrator, Playwright Vantile Whitfield Dies". Washington Post (Washington, DC). "Vantile Whitfield, known as "Motojicho," an influential playwright, director of stage and screen and founding director of the Expansion Arts program at the National Endowment of the Arts, died Jan. 9 at the Washington Home of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 74 and was considered a dean of black theater."
- ^ a b c d Risen, Clay. "The Lightning Rod", The Atlantic, November 2008. 2.
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