• History

  • Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906) was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Dayton, Ohio, to parents who had been enslaved in Kentucky before the American Civil War, Dunbar began writing stories and verse when he was a child. He published his first poems at the age of 16 in a Dayton newspaper, and served as president of his high school's literary society. Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School, named for the acclaimed poet, was built during segregation. As was often the case with gathering places such as schools and churches, these structures served as important hubs for life in Phoenix's African American community.

    The Dunbar School

    The Dunbar School (701 S. Ninth Ave.), built in 1925, used to host the annual Juneteenth celebration starting in the late 1960s before that event moved to Eastlake Park. Dunbar School, a "historically Black school" during the era of segregation. By 1925, the school outgrew its two classrooms, and parents of those who attended the school demanded a new school, resulting in the construction of a one-story brick building.[1] The school's construction was funded with monies from a $650,000 bond issue that passed in 1924.[2]

    Now, the school, like all schools in the United States following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, is operated as an integrated institution.

    The school was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993,[2] and was added to the City of Phoenix's Historic Property Register in 2005.[3]

    [1] Creno, Cathryn (1 July 2014). "17 historic schools in metro Phoenix". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
    [2] "National Register of Historic Places Continuation Sheet for Dunbar School". National Register of Historic Places. 1993. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
    [3] "Phoenix Historic Property Register" (PDF). City of Phoenix. May 2017. p. 4. Retrieved 29 June 2023.