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To mark Black History Month, the museum is sharing a rare collection of images from the DuBois School. By the time these photographs were taken in 1964-65, school segregation was coming to an end. Five years later, the Wake Forest Public Schools would be fully integrated and the DuBois School would become Wake Forest Junior High.
But as the town’s historically black public school, the DuBois School has a fascinating and powerful history of its own.
Founded in 1926 as the Wake Forest Colored School, it was among more than 5,000 schools, shops, and teachers’ homes that eventually received funding for improvements from the famous Rosenwald Fund. Established by American businessman Julius Rosenwald, part-owner and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, this fund was created to improve educational opportunities for African-American students. As private monies were also required, activists across the rural South–including here in Wake Forest’s northeast neighborhood–collectively raised millions of dollars to provide education for all. With capital improvements complete in 1939, the school’s name was changed to honor prominent philosopher and activist, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University and an outspoken proponent of civil rights.
These images from the DuBois School’s mid-60s athletic program have been uploaded for consideration as part of an interactive display called the Spirit of the Game, a smart phone and iPad application that allows local museums and visitors to share their own stories as part of the exhibit called Hometown Teams, a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution that will arrive at the Wake Forest Historical Museum for an extended run that lasts from April 16 – May 31, 2015.
Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.
(Photographs Courtesy of the National Alumni Foundation DuBois School.)