New Dunbar High School facilities unveiled

The new $122 million facility for Dunbar High School was unveiled Monday. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

WASHINGTON – It was the nation’s first public high school for African Americans, and now it has a new building.

Originally established in 1870 by poet and novelist Paul Laurence Dunbar, the ribbon was cut Monday afternoon on the new $122 million Dunbar High School in D.C. – and many of its alumni came back for the celebration.

“All I can say is wow, we are here ladies and gentleman, in the new Dunbar High School,” said Mayor Vincent Gray, class of 1959. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton also graduated from Dunbar. An on-site museum offers a snapshot of Dunbar alumni and what they’ve accomplished.

“This building’s design encorporates, nods to, its namesake, and the many notable Dunbar alumni and faculty members,” said Gray.

“The design for the new Dunbar honors the school’s traditions and what I think we all consider to be a distinguished history.”

Eight of Dunbar’s alumni have even made it onto postage stamps, Gray noted.

“And let’s remember those famous words of Paul Laurence Dunbar, ‘keep a’pluggin’ away.'”

WTOP’s Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report.

Follow @MollenbeckWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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