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Dunbar High continues to foster achievement against adversity

Posted 2/11/24

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – During the days of segregation, Dunbar High was Clay County’s only “Black” high school, and it was built upon land donated by renowned sculptor Augusta Savage. Because of …

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Dunbar High continues to foster achievement against adversity


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – During the days of segregation, Dunbar High was Clay County’s only “Black” high school, and it was built upon land donated by renowned sculptor Augusta Savage.

Because of the Civil Rights Act and the desegregation of public schools, the last graduating class was in 1967. Since then, alumni and faculty have always remembered the not-too-distant past in our community’s history.

During the Dunbar High Open House, former students tapped in and shared memories from the classrooms, their challenges and their triumphs. Some of the most important lessons ever learned came not merely from the hand-me-down books, which were sometimes the only books available, but from the wisdom of their teachers.

“They did so much with so little,” said Dr. Larry Richardson, an alumnus at Dunbar High.

The teachers at Dunbar did the best with what they could to set their students up for success, Richardson said.

The legacy of Dunbar High continues to be a shining example of achievement in the face of adversity. Now, the campus has been renovated and repurposed as the Augusta Savage Arts and Community Center, which serves Green Cove Springs as a museum, tutoring and mentoring center for students of all ages.

The open house ceremony last Saturday displayed the Legacy Wall to the public for the first time. Walking through the front doors of the Community Center, visitors are now able to see a timeline of notable historical moments of Dunbar High and of Augusta Savage, who contributed to the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s.

One interesting fact is Dunbar High was the first school in the county to bring home a state championship. The Lady Panthers Basketball team won the state championship in 1964, and the boy’s basketball team finished runner-up that same year.

Mrs. Wilhelmenia James, one of the last living teachers of Dunbar High, had the honor of being the first to see the Legacy Wall.

Friends of Augusta Savage and the VIA Women’s Club will continue Black History Month with “A Celebration of Cultural Expressions” fashion show this Saturday, Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. The event will be held at the Green Cove Springs VIA Clubhouse, 17 Palmetto Ave.