Dunbar High School has a notable list of graduates, including the first black presidential Cabinet member, the first black general in the Army and several of the lawyers who argued the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
Credit Stephen Voss / Courtesy Chicago Review Press
Alison Stewart has hosted shows for PBS, MSNBC and ABC as well as NPR's Ted Radio Hour and The Bryant Park Project. First Class is her first book.
The nation's first black public high school, Paul Laurence Dunbar High, opened its doors in Washington, D.C., in 1870. But more than 140 years later, Dunbar — like many urban schools — has fallen on hard times. The crumbling, brutalist-style building is often described as a prison, and graduation rates hover around 60 percent.
But it wasn't always that way. Once upon a time, the yearbook read like a Who's Who of black America.