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Greetings Alumni, Friends and Supporters,

You are cordially invited to join us at the Dunbar Alumni Federation’s Black History Month Celebration: An Afternoon at Arena Stage featuring “Tempestuous Elements on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at 2 pm. The Arena Stage is located at 1101 Sixth Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. The ticket cost is $115.00 per person. For your convenience, click here for the Reservation Form or you may reserve online.  Masks are required for this performance.

This performance is based on the renowned educator, social activist and feminist, Anna J. Cooper, and her tenure as principal at the M Street High School. During this critical period in the history of the DC public school system, the prevailing opinion regarding the education of black students began to shift from trade and vocational training to college preparatory. This idea set the stage for the M Street High School to become the leading institution in preparing black students to not only to enter major universities and colleges of that era, but to be very successful in whatever course of study they had chosen. Thus Anna J. Cooper and her model for excellence, scholarship, academics and activism lead the charge for shaping these young minds.

Come and be a part of the historic Paul Laurence Dunbar High School story first hand. This is a must-see event! If you have any questions, please contact the DAF Office via telephone 202.724.4194 or email .  We look forward to seeing you there.

Creating better futures,

M. Cecile Mitchell ’60

Chair, The Black History Month

   Celebration Committee


Support the DAF through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). The DAF CFC contribution number is 96118.
Go to http://www.opm.gov/showsomelovecfc to make your monetary donation today. The 2020 pledge season is open until January 15, 2024.
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If you have questions about your agency’s CFC program or need assistance with the CFC donation website, contact or call 202-606-2564.

Jacqueline Shuler ‘71

Continuing a tradition that began in 2015, we are honoring five deserving alumnus and/or faculty member as our newest Legends and Pioneers! We had thirteen nominations and following a vote by the Triennial Committee, the five newest inductees will be presented during our 6th Annual Triennial All-Class Reunion on October 14, 2018. Here are the candidates listed alphabetically:

Josephine Baker, Class of 1948, Mrs. Baker is a retired DCPS teacher and former associate professor at George Washington University. She was a strong supporter of Dunbar and the DAF. Her class has raised scholarship funds for students which they presented during graduation.

Alice Gail Pollard Clark, Class of 1957, an honor student while at Dunbar, Mrs. Clark went on to have a distinguished career as an educator in DCPS as well as Associate Judge, District Court of Maryland from 1997-2010. She was inducted into Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

Thomas Clifford, Class of 1945, Major General, US Air Force. General Clifford graduated from Howard University in 1949 as distinguished military graduate and commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He served in Vietnam as a deputy commander in 1971. General Clifford received many military decorations.

Bettie Cole, Class of 1961, Ms. Cole has been a staunch supporter of Dunbar and DAF for many years. She has logged over two thousand hours volunteering in the DAF office.  A lifetime member, she has served as chairperson of the DAF Scholarship Committee for several years, increasing donations of $6,700 in 2005 to $120,000 in 2017.She has enjoyed a rewarding career in computer and customer service.

Austine Fowler, Class of 1953, Mrs. Fowler has been a loyal supporter of DAF and Dunbar.  A lifetime member since 2013, she is currently serving as Chairman of Student Activities, she volunteers three days a week in the DAF Office, established an Endowment Scholarship in her late sister’s name which she funds annually with $1,000.00, and has volunteered with student-based activities. She enjoyed a stellar career in education first as a teacher and later served as Educational Specialist for HHS.

Angelina Grimke, Faculty 1902-1922, Mrs. Grimke was an English teacher during the period when other Harlem Renaissance writers also worked at Dunbar. She was also a noted writer whose play “Rachel” published in 1920, was the first play staged by a black author. Her poetry regularly appeared in journals, newspapers and anthologies.

The Hammond Family, Mr. Garnet Hammond, Class of 1941 and four of his sisters, Grace, Ellen, Bernice and Hattie, were proud graduates of Dunbar. Their mother, Mrs. Isabelle Hammond was a poet, playwright and musician who composed the “Dunbar March” in 1917. Mr. Hammond has established numerous endowment scholarships in honor of his wife, mother and siblings. Each of the Hammonds had stellar careers in a myriad of fields, including education, fine arts, and finance. The family has had a continuing outpouring of generosity for decades to their beloved Alma Mater.

Benjamin J. Henley, Class of 1928, Dr. Henley was a noted teacher for DCPS who eventually rose to the title of Superintendent. His leadership abilities were evident during his tenure at Dunbar when he was Cadet Captain. His experience at all levels in the system, student, teacher administrator and parent, enabled him to work toward the best results with persistent grace and dignity.

Charles Hines, Class of 1954, Major General U.S. Army. General Hines graduated from Howard University and upon graduation served 38 years in the U.S. Army where he attained the rank of Major General. In 1989 he became the first black commander of a military installation in the South. Following his retirement in 1994, he served as President of Prairie View A&M University until 2002, where he oversaw its role in the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Randolph Horton, Class of 1968, as a member of the 1968 Reunion Committee, Mr. Horton AKA “Reds”, consistently supports his class financially and whatever tasks need to be completed. He has supported DAF by sponsoring events and providing class membership and a scholarship for a Dunbar graduate in the name of his class. Since 1976, he has been an integral part of the death-care industry, strengthening his roots and continuing the family legacy, at the R.N. Horton Co. Morticians, Inc.

Rosa Lee Lyons, Faculty 1967-2008, Miss Lyons was an extraordinary English instructor who left an indelible legacy on her students, colleagues and community. Miss Lyons was instrumental in documenting and preserving the history of our famed school by serving as the yearbook advisor for most of her forty plus years. She was designated as DCPS graduation coordinator. She served as a mentor to students and former students. Her students knew her to be a no-nonsense but compassionate educator as she strove to impact their lives positively.

Vernon E. Nelson, Class of 1964, Mr. Nelson earned a B.A. in Physical Education from Knoxville College and a MA in Counseling Psychology from UDC. He served as founding member and president for many years of the Crimson Tide Auxiliary Class of ’64, which donated scholarships to graduating seniors. He retired from DCPS after thirty-six years as a teacher and coach.  He was a Golf coach who was recognized for his many accomplishments in the sport. 

Neval Thomas, Faculty 1904-1923, Mr. Thomas taught American history for 19 years at M Street St High School which later became Dunbar High School.  He went on to serve as Vice Principal.  He worked tirelessly for the building of a stadium and greenhouse for Dunbar. Mr. Thomas’ lifelong commitment to the injustices of racial inequality within Washington DC landed him a position as president of the Washington DC branch of the NAACP in 1925. In his honor, Washington DC established the Neval Thomas Elementary School located in northeast DC.

Herman Washington, Class of 1969, Mr. Washington continued his education at Lincoln University, He began his broadcast career in 1971 as a reporter for WOOK radio in Washington DC He later joined WOL radio as one of it’s youngest News/Public Affairs Directors. He has garnered many achievement awards in his field. Mr. Washington is very active with his reunion committee and supports the Class of 1969 scholarship. He is a member of DAF and has volunteered to moderate the upcoming Humanities Council project – “1968- The Leap Year that the changed the world”.



Press Release from the Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Sep 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today she will introduce the Paul Laurence Dunbar Commemorative Coin Act, which directs the Secretary of the Treasury to mint 50,000 five-dollar coins, 400,000 one-dollar coins and 750,000 half-dollar coins in recognition of Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the most influential African-American poets in American literature.  The surcharge on each coin sold would benefit scholarships and similar activities of the Dunbar Alumni Federation, the alumni association for the historic Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School, the first public high school for African Americans in the United States.  Norton is a Dunbar alumna and will speak at a Back-to-School event there this Friday, September 13th at 9:30 a.m.

Many well-known and accomplished African Americans graduated from Dunbar, including Edward Brooke, the first popularly elected African American to the U.S. Senate; Wesley A. Brown, the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy; and Robert C. Weaver, the first-ever Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“As the namesake of my high school, Paul Laurence Dunbar has a special place in my heart,” Norton said.  “Dunbar is revered as one of the greatest African-American poets in our nation’s history.  The Dunbar name is further distinguished by the accomplishments of many of the school’s graduates.  Minting a coin in his honor would be a particularly fitting tribute to a man whose poetry captured African Americans in their own terms not long after slavery, while also raising funds for worthy causes undertaken by the Dunbar Alumni Federation.”

Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School was established in the District of Columbia in 1870 as the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth.  The school was renamed for Dunbar in 1916.