Dunbar High School
National Alumni Association
As is the American custom of any permanent settlement, after a sufficient number of settlers clustered together, the next question in the minds of the people is the establishment of a public school.
Around the 1880’s the Negro population in Texarkana, Texas centered around Oak and Elm Streets, from front northward. There was an idea to establish a school in that vicinity. Thus a school was organized in the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, at Fourth and Elm Streets with Professor Dillard as principal. Mrs. Dillard was the only assistant. These two people taught for a period of time.
Through transit, the population grew so fast that the school authorities saw that it was necessary to seek a permanent site for the location of the school.
The present site was purchased by school authorities and a two room school facing Sixth Street was built, with Professor Williams as principal. During his tenure of office the school thus received the name Central, because of its central location. Along with Professor Williams there were a number of teachers who taught with him whose names no longer can be recalled. It is understood that another principal succeeded Professor Williams but as there were no records left, his name is not known.
Finally, a young man. Professor S. J. Spencer, from South Carolina full of energy and enthusiasm, came to the city and was employed as principal of the school. Under this young man the school took on new life, so much so, that a two story frame building containing four rooms was built facing Sixth Street, between Elm and the K. C. S. tracks.
Under Professor Spencer the following teachers taught: Miss Brown, who became Mrs. Spencer, Mrs. Hattie Dawson, and Mrs. Campbell. Later Miss Fannie Lee of Little Rock, Arkansas replaced Mrs. Campbell. Then came Reverend and Mrs. A. M. Plant.
Professor Spencer taught for a number of years, but was replaced by Professor W. T. Daniels, for one year. Professor Daniels was an intellectual giant, a product of Texarkana, and had the singular honor of being the first black college graduate of Texarkana. He received his basic training in the Texarkana schools and his college training at Bishop College. The school grew by leaps, with this young man at its head for only one year. Professor S. J. Spencer returned to the system after that one year.
The following teachers taught during Mr. Spencer’s second tenure: Mrs. Mary Spencer, Mrs. Hattie Dawson, Miss Fannie Lee, Miss R. Webb, Miss C. Webb and Miss Eva Webb.
Mr. Spencer taught until his health failed. After Professor Spencer’s tenure came Professor M. C. McCowan, under whose tenure the central brick building was built, facing Seventh Street. Those who taught under Professor McCowan were: Mrs. Lula Long, Mrs. Jessie Johnson, Professor Jettie Weaver, Mrs. Cora Jones, Miss Susie Fridia and others.