Dunbar Vocational High School

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Dunbar Vocational High School
Restoring the Legacy of Excellence.
3000 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60616
United States
Coordinates 41°50′24″N 87°37′06″W / 41.8400°N 87.6182°W / 41.8400; -87.6182Coordinates: 41°50′24″N 87°37′06″W / 41.8400°N 87.6182°W / 41.8400; -87.6182
School type Public Secondary Vocational
Opened 1942
School district Chicago Public Schools
CEEB code 140785[1]
Principal Gerald J. Morrow
Grades 912
Gender Coed
Enrollment 546[2] (2016–17)
Campus type Urban
Color(s)     Blue
Athletics conference Chicago Public League[3]
Team name MightyMen/MightyWomen[3]
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools[4]
Newspaper Craftsman[5]
Yearbook Prospectus

Dunbar Vocational High School (also known as Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, or DVCA) is a public 4–year vocational high school located in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Dunbar opened in 1942[6] and is operated by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district. The school is named in honor of the African–American poet, novelist, and playwright Paul Laurence Dunbar.[7]


Opening in September 1942[8] as a Dunbar Trade School, the school was created to provide skill workers for the war. When the school opened, the school had an student enrollment of 1,500; Mostly all of which were African–American. The school was considered as a "vocational branch" of Wendell Phillips High School, considering both schools were predominately African–American. In 1946, the Chicago Public Schools changed the trade school into a public high school, accepting ninth grade students in January of that year. The school's first location was in a former elementary school building located at 4401 South St. Lawrence Avenue. In addition to the school building, twenty–two mobile classroom which served as vocational shops were constructed on the site over the course of several months after its opening.[9]

By 1952, Dunbar suffered from issues dealing with overcrowding and aging of the school building. The Chicago Board of Education decided that a new school building was needed for Dunbar. A vacant site about two and a half miles north from the school's location was voted on and selected as the new Dunbar's location in mid–1954; costing the district a mere $7 million to construct.[10]The groundbreaking ceremony for the new school occurred in April 1955 with Chicago school officials and then newly elected Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, construction began at 3000 South Parkway Avenue (now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) shortly thereafter. The new Dunbar Vocational High School building opened for students for the 1956–57 school year.[11]By the school 20th anniversary in 1962, the school's enrollment was at 2,300; which included students taking night classes and drop-outs enrolled in trade classes.[12]

Other information[edit]

On February 5, 1968, students at the school staged a walk–out and gathered on the street in front of the school after rumors of the firing of a popular teacher circulated. It was also rumored that day the school would change from a vocational high school to a regular general high school. The walk–out caused classes to be canceled for four hours.[13] The incident caused the disruption of traffic and damaging of several automobiles; which resulted in three arrests. In December 1968, the school held the "Afro–American Expo '68" which included local politicians, businessmen and activists.[14] On January 9, 2009, five people were shot outside the school after a varsity basketball game against John Hope College Prep had concluded around 8PM. The shooting was considered gang-related.[15][16] On May 23, 2013, A 16–year old female student was pushed down a flight of stairs and assaulted by a male security guard at the school. The incident was filmed via cell phone video by another student.[17]


Dunbar competes in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). [18] Dunbar sport teams are known as MightyMen/MightyWomen. The Boys' basketball team were Public League champions in the 1955–56 season and regional champions in 2011–12. The Girls' basketball team were Class AA in the 1997–98 season. The Girls track and field team were Public league champions and place 2nd in 1977–78 and Class AA three times (1977–78, 1978–79, 1985–86). The Boys' wrestling team were Public league champions in 1977–78 and ranked Class AA two times (1977–78, 2007–08). The Boys' track and field were Public league champions four times (1956–57, 1957–58, 1964–65, 1981–82), and Class AA (1981–82).

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ "High School Code Search". College Board. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "Chicago Public Schools: Dunbar". Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Chicago (Dunbar)". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 31 December 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  4. ^ "Institution Summary for Dunbar High School". AdvancED profile. North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "School Clubs". Directory. Dunbar High School. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports, and Catholic Youth in Chicago
  7. ^ a b c d e "Dunbar at a glance". Chicago Sun-Times. December 29, 1993. 76.
  8. ^ Chicago Tribune – 1,500 Receive Shop Training At Dunbar – September 13, 1942
  9. ^ Dunbar Vocational High School: 1955
  10. ^ Chicago Tribune – Two New Schools To Cost 10 Million Dollars – July 15, 1954
  11. ^ Dunbar Vocational High School: 1957
  12. ^ Chicago Tribune – Dunbar To Celebrate 20th Year – May 31, 1962
  13. ^ Chicago Tribune – False Rumor Of Fired Teacher Sits Students At Dunbar High – February 6, 1968
  14. ^ Chicago Tribune – Afro-American Expo '68 Today In Dunbar School – December 8, 1968
  15. ^ 5 wounded in Chicago high school drive-by (January 10, 2009)
  16. ^ Chicagoist: Five Shot Outside Dunbar High After Basketball Game (January 10, 2009)
  17. ^ CBS: Chicago School Employee Pushes Student Down Stairs Cell phone video shows a Dunbar Vocational Career Academy employee pushing the girl (May 24, 2013)
  18. ^ "IHSA Season Summaries". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 16 November 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "Amos Bullocks Profile". 
  20. ^ Bill Zwecker. "Sweet home Hudson - Holiday special brings the singer back to familiar sites". Chicago Sun-Times. December 9, 2009. 31.
  21. ^ "Jimmy D. Lane ALLMUSIC Bio Page". 
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ "Cornelius Coffey, Early Black Aviator". Chicago Tribune. 

External links[edit]