Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today congratulated the The Dunbar Coalition, Inc. on a newly announced $250,000 grant for the creation of an African American Museum and Cultural Center at the historic Dunbar School. Funding from the Economic Development Initiative, secured by Rep. Grijalva in the FY2010 consolidated appropriations bill, was designated to construct the museum under the guidance of the Pima County Cultural Resources and Historic Preservation Office.
Named after the well-known African American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the school opened in 1918 to educate African American students in the city. Dunbar was Tucson’s only segregated school of the era. After Arizona desegregated its schools in 1951, the facility operated as John Spring Junior High School until 1978. The Dunbar Coalition, Inc. purchased the facility from the Tucson Unified School District in 1995 with the intention of converting it for cultural purposes.
The Dunbar has since become a vibrant community center in the heart of downtown Tucson. Facilities include a dance academy, barber academy, food service academy and auditorium. Completion of the museum will mark another milestone for the site, which is located at 325 W. 2nd St. in downtown Tucson.
“This is an excellent opportunity for a community organization here in Tucson to preserve a piece of the city’s history and build a cultural monument for the African American and greater Tucson community.”Grijalva said. “Iwas pleased to secure this funding, because the Coalition is building something that will enrich Tucson cultural life for years to come.”
For more information, call the Dunbar Coalition at (520) 791-7795.