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The Dunbar Echo

Dunbar High School opened in 1923 at 545 North Upper Street as the only all-black high school in Lexington’s city school system. The school was named after African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906­), whose parents had been enslaved in Kentucky. Dunbar was a source of immense pride for many in Lexington; it was ambitious in academics, formidable in athletics, a meeting place for community organizations, and the first of only eight black high schools to ever be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In 1967, after federal pressure to racially integrate schools, the Fayette County board of education decided to close Dunbar High School. This elicted a substantial outcry from many black Lexingtonians, who saw Dunbar as a community cornerstone, and whose children would be bused longer distances to school. In 1968, the school board promised that the next high school opened in Fayette County would also be Dunbar, which then opened in 1990. After the original closed in 1967, the old Dunbar building remained in use for several years as a junior high school. Most of the building was razed in 1974; what remains of it has been converted into the Dunbar Community Center.

The Dunbar Echo became the student publication, coming out a few times each year. The Lexington Public Library holdings contain the yearbook editions of the publication, which contains information about students, alumni, faculty and teachers, sports, essays, student activities, attendance, budget, and Echo sponsors. There are also black and white photos of some of the students and faculty.

Information from:

  • Carpenter, Siona. “New Era Dawns at Dunbar.” Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY), Dec. 18, 1989.
  • Carpenter, Siona. “New Dunbar: Honoring Poet or Avoiding Past?” Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY), Jan. 24, 1990.
  • “Dunbar (Paul Lawrence) High School.” Lexington History Museum. Accessed February 26, 2018. http://lexhistory.org/wikilex/dunbar-paul-lawrence-high-school.
  • Marx, Jeffrey. “Alumni of Dunbar Want Name Revived in New High School.” Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY), Sept. 2, 1987.
  • “Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Lexington, KY).” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database. Accessed February 26, 2018. http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/1358.​

 

Dunbar High School, Insert Principal William H. Fouse
Dunbar High School Class of 1934

Other Archive Collections: 

  • A Directory of Lexington and the Bluegrass Title Page

    Lexington Business Directories

    The Lexington Business Directories contain local directories with information about local businesses, horse farms, and professionals.

  • Kentucky Almanacs

    The Kentucky almanac collection contains old regional almanacs.
  • Fayette County Kentucky in the World War 1917-1919 Vol. I. Cover

    Council of Defense Records

    The Council of Defense records contain information about the soldiers, sailors, marines, and nurses who served during World War I.
  • Illustrated Lexington Kentucky Front Cover

    Illustrated Lexington Kentucky

    Illustrated Lexington Kentucky contains photographs, demographics, commerce and financial information about Lexington up to 1919.
  • Page Two of The Lexington Library

    Lexington Public Library History

    The pamphlet contains information tracing the history of the Lexington Library to roughly 1902.

  • Old Homes of the Blue Grass

    A photographic collection highlighting historic homes of the Bluegrass Region.
  • Kentucky Progress Magazine, Spring 1933 cover image

    Kentucky Progress Magazine

    The “Kentucky Progress Magazine” was used by the Kentucky Progress Commission to promote Kentucky, and features local interest stories, photographs of people, places, and activities.

  • Kentucky Suffrage

    The Kentucky Rally Songs pamphlet, published circa 1914 by the WCTU, contains 42 songs advocating women’s suffrage and prohibition.

  • Knowles Postcard Collection

    Images of notable Kentucky locations, such as Ashland, Keeneland, and Mammoth Cave

  • Fayette County Directories

    The Fayette County directories contain local information regarding resident addresses, government and officials, schools, land ownership, businesses, and other local organizations.
  • The Town Branch #2

    The Town Branch

    The Town Branch was presented as a brief history of Lexington and the Town Branch, given as a speech by Maude Ward Lafferty in 1917.

  • Fayette County Postcards

    The Fayette County Postcard collection contains 55 images of sites in central Kentucky.

  • 1896 Kentucky Chautauqua Detailed Illustrated Program

    The brochure for the Kentucky Chautauqua includes information and pictures of presenters and events.
  • High Bridge (Stone Towers), part of the Elmer L. Foote Collection

    Elmer L. Foote Lantern Slide Collection

    The Elmer L. Foote Collection is a group of 190 lantern slides. They were created by Elmer L. Foote, a Cincinnati photographer and library staff member whose pictures appeared in the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune.
  • "Soldier, Soldier Will You Marry Me?" from Mountain Ballads for Social Singing

    Mountain Ballads for Social Singing

    The Mountain Ballads pamphlet is 15 songs originally compiled for English Folk Songs in the Mountains of the Southern Appalachians.
  • Woodcut from the Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Hamilton Female College

    Hamilton Female College Collection

    The Hamilton Female College catalogs list the school’s Board of Trustees, faculty, alumnae, graduates, directory of students, courses of study, and the members of each department.