Dunbar High School (Washington, D.C.)
|Dunbar High School|
101 N Street Northwest
|School type||Public high school|
|School district||District of Columbia Public Schools Ward 5|
|Grades||9 to 12|
|Student to teacher ratio||12.68|
|Athletics conference||District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association|
Paul Laurence 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.
From the early 20th century to the 1950s, Dunbar became known as the classical academic high school for black students in the segregated public schools. As all public school teachers were federal civil servants, its teachers received pay equal to that of white teachers in other schools in the district. It attracted high-quality faculty, many with advanced degrees, including doctorates. Parents sent their children to the high school from across the city because of its high standards. Many of its alumni graduated from top-quality colleges and universities, and gained professional degrees.
Originally named the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth from 1891 to 1916 it became known as M Street High School. The school was founded as an educational mission at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church. The school was one of America's first public high school for black students. When its location was changed from M Street, the school was renamed in 1916 for the noted African-American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, who died in 1906.
As more high schools had been established, Dunbar was designated as the city's academic high school, with other schools providing more vocational or technical training. Dunbar was known for its excellent academics, enough so that some black parents moved to Washington specifically so their children could attend it. All the public school teachers were federal employees, and Dunbar's faculty was paid well by the standards of the time, earning parity pay with Washington's white school teachers. The school boasted a high number of graduates who went on to higher education and a generally successful student body.
In the 21st century, Dunbar 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 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.
One of Dunbar's first principals in Washington, DC was the first black graduate of Harvard College. Almost all the teachers had graduate degrees, and several earned PhDs. By the 1950s, Dunbar High School was sending 80 percent of its students to college.
"For Washington, the end of racial segregation led to a political compromise, in which all schools became neighborhood schools. Dunbar, which had been accepting outstanding black students from anywhere in the city, could now accept only students from the rough ghetto neighborhood in which it was located. Virtually overnight, Dunbar became a typical ghetto school. As unmotivated, unruly and disruptive students flooded in, Dunbar teachers began moving out and many retired. More than 80 years of academic excellence simply vanished into thin air." 
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, William H. Hastie, Charles Hamilton Houston, Robert Heberton Terrell, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Paul Capel, III, Robert C. Weaver, and James E. Bowman. Its illustrious faculty included Anna Julia Cooper, Kelly Miller, Mary Church Terrell, A.A. Birch Jr., Carter G. Woodson, and Julia Evangeline Brooks, who was also a graduate of the school. Among its principals were Anna J. Cooper, Richard Greener, Mary Jane Patterson, and Robert Heberton Terrell. An unusual number of teachers and principals held Ph.D. degrees, including historian Carter G. Woodson, the second African American to earn a Phd. from Harvard (after W. E. B. Du Bois) and the father of 'Black History Month'.
Up until 1954, Fairfax County, Virginia, had no secondary schools for black students. Dunbar and several other District of Columbia public schools were able to accept black students from the county before that time.
Dunbar competes in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Dunbar has about 650 students.
- 98% are African American
- 1% are Hispanic American
- Less than 1% are Asian American
- Less than 1% are Native American
- Less than 1% are 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
- James E. Bowman, scientist, physician, pathologist, studied G6PD and Sickle cell disease
- Sterling Allen Brown, professor, poet
- Mary P. Burrill, educator and playwright
- Nannie Helen Burroughs, educator, orator, religious leader and businesswoman
- Elizabeth Catlett, a prominent sculptor and artist.
- Frank Coleman, professor of physics, founder of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.
- Anna J. Cooper, one of the most prominent scholars in United States history
- Allison Davis, anthropologist, educator, scholar; first African American to hold full faculty position at a major white institution, namely, University of Chicago
- John Aubrey Davis, Sr. Civil rights activist, head academic researcher on Brown v. The Board of Education, New Negro Alliance co-founder and political science professor
- James Reese Europe, first African-American officer to lead troops in battle in World War I, founder and first president of the Clef Club, leader of the 369th Hellfighters Infantry Regiment Band
- George Faison, Tony and Emmy Award-winning choreographer, dancer and producer
- Evelyn Boyd Granville, second African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from an American university
- Kelly Miller, mathematician, sociologist, essayist, newspaper columnist
- May Miller, playwright
- Willis Richardson, playwright
- Billy Taylor, jazz pianist
- Mary Church Terrell, suffragist and civil rights activist; one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree
- Jean Toomer, poet and novelist associated with the Harlem Renaissance
- Vantile Whitfield, influential arts administrator and theater director
- Carter G. Woodson, historian of African-American history, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and Black History Month.
- Arrelious Benn, NFL wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars
- Josh Cribbs, NFL player
- Vernon Davis, NFL tight end for the Washington Redskins
- Vontae Davis, retired NFL cornerback who played for the Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, and Buffalo Bills
- John Duren, NBA player and 19th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz
- Cornelius Greene, All-American and first African American quarterback to start at Ohio State University
- Tre Kelley, former basketball player for the University of South Carolina
- Michael Smith, NBA Smith was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the 1994 NBA Draft. He would play for the Kings, Vancouver Grizzlies, and Washington Wizards.
- Anthony Jones, former basketball player for Georgetown Univ and UNLV. Jones was selected in the 1st round by the Washington Bullets in the 1986 NBA Draft. Also played for the Spurs, Bulls and Mavericks.
- Craig Shelton, retired NBA player.
- Bernard Robinson, retired NBA player.
- Mary Burke Washington (1944), economist and government official
- Wesley A. Brown, first African-American graduate of the US Naval Academy.
- Lawrence Chambers, first African-American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to reach the rank of admiral.
- Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., West Point graduate, and first African-American general in the Air Force.
- Frederic E. Davison, first African- American Major General in the Army.
- Edward Brooke, first African American to be elected by popular vote to the United States Senate
- Vincent C. Gray, former 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
- Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr., chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1981 until his death in 1988
- Inez Smith Reid, judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals
- Robert C. Weaver, served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Business, religion and professionals
- Charles R. Drew, discovered blood plasma and was 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
- Colbert I. King, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist
- GNIS entry for Dunbar Senior High School; USGS; December 31, 1981.
- "Dunbar HS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- Alison Stewart, First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School, Chicago Review Press, 2015, ISBN 1613731760, ISBN 978-1613731765]
- Sowell, Thomas (October 4, 2016). "Dunbar High School after 100 Years". Creators Syndicate. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
- "History Archived August 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine." Luther Jackson Middle School. Retrieved on June 4, 2016.
- "A History of Luther P. Jackson High School : A Report of a Case Study on the Development of a Black High School" (thesis abstract). Virginia Tech. Retrieved on June 4, 2016.
- Dunbar High School
- Jones, Robert B. "Jean Toomer's Life and Career". Modern American Poetry. Urbana-Champaign, Illinois: Department of English, University of Illinois. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- Shinhoster Lamb, Yvonne (January 23, 2005). "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.
- Risen, Clay. "The Lightning Rod", The Atlantic, November 2008. 2.
- Bernstein, Adam (December 5, 2014). "Mary Washington, government official and widow of former D.C. mayor, dies at 88". Washington Post. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- "Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr". aapra.org. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved March 19, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Colbert I. King - "Dunbar High School's sad descent into hard times", Washington Post]
- Brubaker, Bill (November 2, 1989). "COURTING RAYFUL EDMOND". Washington Post. Retrieved April 1, 2019.