HSW Explores the History of Dunbar High School at Documentary Screening

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. will present a screening of the documentary film The Dunbar Legacy: Passing the Torch of Excellence on Saturday, October 18 at 1:30 p.m. in the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Admission is free.

The first public high school for African Americans, Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School is celebrated in both local and national history. The school’s graduates have included: surgeon and blood-transfusion pioneer Charles R. Drew; educator and father of Black History Month Carter G. Woodson; civil rights leader Mary Church Tyrell; and educator Anna J. Cooper, one of the first African American women to earn a doctoral degree.

This documentary chronicles the lives Dunbar students from the school’s start in the basement of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in 1870 all the way to the opening of its most recent building at First and N Streets NW in 2013.

Following the screening, filmmaker and Dunbar alumnus Phil Portlock will discuss his process and mission for creating the documentary.  Kimberly Springle, D.C. Public School Historian and Executive Director of the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, will provide further context by discussing the development of public secondary education for African Americans in Washington, D.C.

The screening and discussion will take place in the T. Roosevelt Studio on the second floor of the Carnegie Library, 801 K Street NW. The building is accessible by Metro at the Mt. Vernon Square (green and yellow lines) and Gallery Place (red, green, and yellow lines) stations.