History and Significance of Dunbar High School Essay

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Jean Jacques Rousseau said that plants are shaped by cultivation and men by education. We are born weak, we need strength. We are born totally unprovided, we need aid. We are born stupid, we need judgment. Everything we do not have at our birth and which we need when we are grown is given us by education.

Rousseau's philosophy of education was one black people understood in the early days of the country's history; education meant freedom and one would lay down his life in the attempt to obtain learning. Slaves in Colonial America who were not allowed to learn to read and write. The white slaveholders did not want their slaves to know that people were arguing over the expansion of slavery and that some whites thought that
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This school became the M Street High School in 1891 and Dunbar High School in 1915.

For a period of 85 years (1870-1955) M Street/Dunbar was an academically elite, all-black public high school in Washington, D.C. As far back as 1899, M Street/Dunbar students came in first in citywide tests given in both black and white schools. Over the 85-year span, most of the school's graduates went on to college, even though most Americans---white or black---did not. Most M Street/Dunbar graduates could afford only to attend the low-cost local colleges: either federally-supported Howard University or tuition-free Miner Teachers College. However, those graduates who attended Harvard, Amherst, Oberlin, and other prestigious institutions (usually on scholarships) ran up an impressive record of academic honors. For example, it is known that Amherst admitted 34 M Street/Dunbar graduates between 1892 and 1954; of these, 74 per cent graduated, and more than one fourth of these graduates were Phi Beta Kappas.

In their careers, as in their academic work, M Street/Dunbar graduates excelled. The first black general (Benjamin O. Davis), the first black federal judge (William H. Hastie), the first black Cabinet member (Robert C. Weaver), the discoverer of blood plasma (Charles Drew), and the first black Senator since Reconstruction (Edward W. Brooke) were all M Street/Dunbar graduates. During World War II, Dunbar graduates in the Army included "nearly a score

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