WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

D.C.'s Dunbar High, America's First Black Public High School

D.C.'s Dunbar High School will begin classes this year in a brand new building. It's a state-of-the-art facility nestled right in the middle of one of the city's fastest-changing neighborhoods. More than a century of history will follow faculty and students into that new facility: Dunbar was the nation's first public high school for black students. Its alumni include the U.S. Army's first black general and the first black federal judge in American history. We talk with author and journalist Alison Stewart, whose new book explores Dunbar's past and ponders the future of D.C.'s public school system.

Legacy Of Notable Alumni

Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., was the nation's first public high school for black students. As students and faculty prepare to move into a new state-of-the-art building, more than a century of history follows them. Among the school's many notable graduates are Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., the first African American general in the Armed Forces, Lawrence Chambers, the first African American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to reach the rank of admiral, and Edward Brooke, the first African American to be elected by popular vote to the U.S. Senate.

Dunbar High alums Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Class of '55) and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (Class of '59) share their memories of attending the famed school. They reflect on the education they received at Dunbar and how the experience shaped their future careers.

Read An Excerpt

Excerpt from "First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School" by Alison Stewart. Copyright 2013 by Alison Stewart. Reprinted here by permission of Chicago Review Press. All rights reserved.

NPR

Lisa Lucas Takes The Reins At The National Book Foundation

Lucas is the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which runs the National Book Awards. Her priority? Inclusivity: "Everyone is either a reader or a potential reader," she says.
NPR

The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.
NPR

Don't Forget About Ted Cruz

The Texas senator has largely been out of the headlines after his third-place showing in New Hampshire. But that was not a bad finish for him, and now the calendar is shaping up better for him.
NPR

Do You Like Me? Swiping Leads To Spike In Online Dating For Young Adults

A study by the Pew Research Center finds the use of online dating sites has mushroomed in the past few years, particularly among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.