African American community leaders petitioned
Lynchburg's school board for a new high school
to serve black students early in the 1920s.
Named for poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, the school
opened here in 1923. Shop, home economics, and
administration buildings were later constructed.
Clarence W. Seay, principal from 1938 to 1968,
recruited a dedicated faculty and expanded the
curriculum. Counselor Pauline Weeden Maloney
guided many graduates to major universities.
The school's cultural, literary, and athletic
programs made it a focal point for the African
American community. Dunbar became a junior
high school in 1970-71, and the original building
was demolished in 1979.