DuBois Collection is Now Online

With the help of DuBois School alumni and the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the museum’s archival material related to Wake Forest’s DuBois School is now available online. The DuBois School student newspaper, The Gazette, makes up most of the digitized material, but you will also find a 1964 and 1965 student yearbook, and material published by the National Alumni Association of DuBois.

The DuBois School served African American students in Wake Forest from 1926 to 1970. In 1922, Wake Forest’s African American community raised funds and secured a matching grant from the Rosenwald Fund to build a new school for the town’s African American children. The school was among more than 800 schools in North Carolina to receive matching grants from the fund, which was established by American businessman Julius Rosenwald, part-owner, and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, to improve educational opportunities for African-American students. The school opened in 1926 as the Wake Forest Graded School, and in 1939, the school was renamed after the famous scholar and activist, Dr. W. E. B. DuBois. 

Wake County schools integrated in 1971, and all DuBois students transferred to Wake Forest-Rolesville High School for the 1971-1972 school year and the DuBois campus reopened as Wake Forest-Rolesville Junior High. In 1989, Wake Forest-Rolesville Junior High closed. Today, the property is owned by the National Alumni Association, and the digital collection includes posters from National Alumni Association events held in the 1990s.

Some of the most interesting publications in the collection provide a look into the academic and social life of DuBois students. Issues of The Gazette span from 1941 to 1963. The earliest issues feature hand-drawn illustrations on each cover page. For example, the cover for the November 1947 issue features an overflowing cornucopia to mark the Thanksgiving holiday.

Cover of The Gazette, November 1947

The newspaper also includes reports from students across the elementary and high school about how their studies relate to current events. When Jackie Robinson won “Rookie of the Year” in 1947, DuBois student Douglas Lucas wrote an article on the star baseball player’s accomplishments both on and off the field. Another article, written by then senior Ellon Alston, describes a panel discussion DuBois students participated in at Wake Forest College in 1950. At the meeting, DuBois students discussed segregation and school integration with students from Wake Forest College’s Baptist Student Union.

A page from The Gazette, April 1950

We hope that the DuBois collection will be used by community members, local educators, and students. You can view issues of The Gazette at https://www.digitalnc.org/newspapers/dubois-high-school-student-newspaper/. In addition to The Gazette and other alumni publications, you can find Wake Forest College yearbooks and catalogs at https://www.digitalnc.org/exhibits/wake-forest-history/

If you have questions about the collection or if you have material related to the DuBois School that you would like to see digitized, please contact Sarah Soleim (soleims@wfu.edu), Manager of Community and Academic Learning.