Dunbar: The Neighborhood, the School, and the People 1940-1965

Dunbar: The Neighborhood, the School, and the People 1940-1965
A new book on the history of our neighborhood has just been released, "Dunbar: The Neighborhood, the School, and the People 1940-1965" by neighbor Aloma J. Barnes with a foreword by Chyrl Hill Lander.

The back cover reads...

The story of Dunbar, the neighborhood that took tis name from the school in its midst, is in many ways the story of America. An almost forgotten 160-acre swatch of land north of the town of Tucson, Arizona, it was inhabited by a hardy mix of Anglos, Mexicans, Yaqui Indians, colored people (as African-Americans were called then), and Chinese. Separated from downtown Tucson by the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, Dunbar's northernmost blocks had been the Court Street Cemetery since 1875.

Then in 1912, statehood changed everything. It introduced mandatory school segregation which forced colored children to attend schools built only for them. In response, the Tucson school board converted an undertaker parlor/bakery into such a facility. Within five years the increasing number of students lead to the construction of a school at 300 W 2nd Street, which became the focal point of the neighborhood. The board named it the Paul Laurence Dunbar School after the renowned colored poet.

Dunbar: The Neighborhood, the School, and the People, 1940-1965 tells the heartfelt and moving story of that community, and the other neighborhoods that fed into the school, as they all grew and thrived. It is told, as much as possible, using the words of those who lived it. The twenty-five years noted in the title began with the arrivals of Principle Morgan Maxwell, Sr., and Dr. Robert D. Morrow, superintendent of Tucson School District No. 1; it spanned three wars, the first school integration, and the march of history.

I highly recommend this book, and it is complemented by another historical account, Tucson's Forgotten Generation: Biographical Memoirs of the Dunbar Neighborhood in the 40's and 50's by the late Rita Elliott.