As you read and look at the pictures below, please send us your memories of
Dunbar School in Weirton - that is, if you are old enough to qualify.   Email your memories to
dennis143@comcast.net  or mail to WAMCC, P.O. Box 517, Weirton, WV  26062

       .....  Help us to Preserve Our History and Culture for Future Generations  .....
     The following information is derived from Education Card #3 in WAMCC's
                                 
WEIRTON AREA HISTORY GAME

                      Dunbar School in Weirton, WV

A few children of Weirton’s pioneer African-American families first attended integrated school classes at the Weirton 
Elementary School on County Road.  In 1917, a school, located on the corner of Kessell St. & Weir Ave. was prepared 
for the African-American population of Weirton.  Miss Catherine Cozzens was reported to be the first teacher of this 
school, which was named after the African-American poet - Paul Lawrence Dunbar.  His name would also appear on 
several other schools, towns, streets, etc.... throughout the country.     In the 1920’s, an additional school, 
named the Washington Grade School was established on 6th Street in northern Weirton.  Elizabeth McDowell taught 
there for several years. 

In 1926, the Dunbar School was enlarged, with the addition of another building, which was once used on Weirton Hts.
as the Mt. Horeb school.  This additional school building was moved to the west side of Weir Ave. at Mendel Street.  
J.W.C. Gay became Principal in 1926, succeeding Alice Payne, who continued on as teacher in the intermediate grades.

In 1926, African-American children, who had graduated from Weirton’s Dunbar Grade School, were reportedly sent 
by street car and train to attend school at Lincoln High School in Wheeling.  In the following years, the Weirton Dunbar 
Grade School graduates would attend Grant High School in Steubenville for their freshman year and then attend Wells 
High School for their final 3 years before graduating.  Butler District Board of Education paid their tuition and transportation
costs.

In 1929, Charles T. Leveridge became one of the first 3 Weirton Dunbar Grade School students to graduate from high school 
in Steubenville, and he went on to West Virginia State College, at Institute, West Virginia.  He would later become a member 
of the Dunbar and Weir High School faculties.
                                                        

Scroll down to see pictures and captions throughout the History of Dunbar School in Weirton.      

1953 Dunbar School Bus

Enlarged Version of above Picture can be seen at Wesbanco Bank in Downtown Weirton
The picture above was taken in November of 1953 for the Weirton Steel Employees Bulletin.  The P&W Bus
# 77 was used as the school bus for the children of Dunbar School on Weir Avenue.  Back in 1939, the brick
building shown in this picture was built here on Weir Avenue to become the new Dunbar High School of Weirton.  
School Patrol Officers Bobby Brown, Melvin Sutton, Thomas Bloom, and William Currenton are out in front
stopping traffic so the school children can board the bus safely.  Mrs. Gloria Tucker, teacher is standing behind
them in front of the bus.  

Presbyterian Church

Starting in the fall of 1932, due to overcrowding, it was announced that the African-American students from
Weirton would no longer be permitted to attend school in Steubenville.  As a result, the Board of Education
established a high school in Weirton to accomodate and continue the education of African-American students.
The old Weirton Presbyterian Church building (pictured above) on the corner of Avenue "F" and County Road
was prepared to serve as the first African-American high school facility in Weirton.  On September 28, 1932,
this new Dunbar High School was opened for the students.  The Mt. Olive Church Sanctuary was temporarily
used for the first few weeks of September.
In 1935, the African-American High School students moved to a larger facility at the top of Avenue "D" and
the Presbyterian Church building  on Avenue "F" (pictured above) was sold to the Ahepa Lodge.  
  

Dunbar School Building

In 1939 (as mentioned in first photo above) a new brick building was built on Weir Avenue to become the
Dunbar High School for Weirton's African-American students.  The Guy Johnston Lumber & Supply Company
was awarded the contract to build this 12-classroom building.  Notice that there is a house located to the right of
the school in this picture.  In December of 1954, an additional building called the Dr. Anthony Major Auditorium-
Gymnasium was built where that house is shown to the right of the school.   Dr. Anthony Major was the first
Principal of Dunbar High School starting in 1932.  After his untimely death in 1949, he was succeeded by his
wife Gwendolyn Kisner Major.  Both buildings still exist today along Weir Avenue in Weirton.   

Unique Bricks on Dunbar School Building

Many people are unaware of the uniquely engraved bricks included with the other bricks on the exterior of the
Dunbar High School Building and the Dr. Anthony Major Auditorium-Gymnasium.  The picture above is a
photo collage of some of those unique brick designs.      

1954 Dr Major Auditorium

The picture above was taken December 17, 1954 for the Weirton Steel Employees Bulletin.  The 45 piece Dunbar
School Chorus, directed by Charles Turner, is shown participating in the dedication of the new Dr. Anthony
Major Gymnasium/Auditorium, which was built next to Dunbar High School that year.  The building was approved
and financed by the Weirton Community Center Association, of which Dr. Major was an active board member.  
Dr. Major had been Principal at Dunbar High School since it opened in 1932, and was there when the new Dunbar
High School was built in 1939.  Dr. Major passed away due to a sudden illness in December of 1949, and this
auditorium/gymnasium was constructed in his honor.     

Dunbar High School Band

The picture above was taken during the 1950 Independence Day Parade for the Weirton Steel Employees Bulletin.  
The Dunbar High School Band is shown proudly displaying their new uniforms, as they march down Main Street
in front of Krogers (later became Marlinn's Shoe Store) and Welfare Finance.  Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home is
on the left side of street.  The Weir-Cove Bowling lanes were located above Krogers.    

Dunbar High School Graduation

The picture above was taken during the Dunbar High School Graduation in 1953 for the Weirton Steel Employees
Bulletin.  The graduation ceremonies are shown taking place at the Dunbar Recreation Center, located one block
north of the High School along Weir Avenue.

Dunbar High School Graduation

The picture above was taken during the Dunbar High School Graduation in 1953 for the Weirton Steel Employees
Bulletin.  The graduation ceremonies are shown taking place at the Dunbar Recreation Center, located one block
north of the High School along Weir Avenue.

Dunbar High School Graduation

The picture above shows the Dunbar High School Class of 1953, taken for the Weirton Steel Bulletin.for the
Weirton Steel Employees Bulletin.   Standing Left to Right are:  Alice Jean Casterlow, Arnett Chappel Brogdon,
Jr.,
Dorthea Thompson, Joseph Allen Hill, Jr. (Valedictorian), Judith Ellen Brown, Franklin Gregory, Virginia
Helen Booker, Ella Ruth Gilliam, Rose Marie Curenton (Salutatorian), Beulah Thompson, Evelyn Mae Rice,
Lois Jean Thomas, and Marva Jean Southerland

Dunbar High School Basketball

The picture above, taken at the Dunbar Recreation Center for the Weirton Steel Employees Bulletin, shows the
Dunbar Basketball team for the 1953-54 basketball season. Standing Left to Right are:  Coach James T. Wares,
Willie Gregory, Ed Young, Bob Chester, Leonard and
Ray Brown.  Seated Left to Right are: Jim Thomas, Dan
Young, Jr., Bob Jeter, Charles Young, Fred Sutton and Bob Byrd.

Dunbar High School Cheerleaders


The picture above, taken at the Dunbar Recreation Center for the Weirton Steel Employees Bulletin, shows the
Dunbar Cheerleaders for the 1953-54 sports season  
Left to Right are:  Corey Jeter, Evelyn Thomas, Artizell Lester, and Rosetta Thompson

Dunbar High School Basketball

The above picture, taken at the new Dr. Anthony Major Gymnasium Auditorium for the Weirton Steel Employees
Bulletin, shows the Dunbar High School Basketball team for the 1954-55 season.  This was the last basketball
team for Dunbar High School, as school desegregation took place in the fall of 1955.  At that time all Dunbar High
School students would attend Weir High School.
Dunbar High School Cheerleaders

The picture above, taken at the Dunbar Recreation Center for the Weirton Steel Employees Bulletin, shows the
1954-55 Dunbar Cheerleeders.  Kneeling left to right are Carole Thomas and Harriet Brown.  Standing left to
right are Thelma Casterlow, Joanne Weaver, and Rosetta Thompson
Dunbar High School Faculty


The picture above was taken at the Dr. Anthony Major Gymnasium/Auditorium for the Weirton Steel Employees
Bulletin.  The picture shows the final faculty for the Dunbar School prior to desegreation, which took place in the
fall of 1955.   The man sitting in the middle is Charles T. Leveridge.  The man standing behind him is James T.
Dunbar High School Faculty
The above picture, taken about 1947, is from the Weirton Steel Collection at the Weirton Area Museum and
Cultural Center.  Standing left to right are Rev. Rufus Williams, Thomas E. Millsop, Dr. Anthony Major, and
John A. Jones.
 
  



Additional Dunbar School Photos and captions are currently being added.  
Check back again soon to see the additional pictures

 
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