Memorial Wall Honors Legacy of Dunbar High School

Reporter: Melinda Zosh

Lynchburg, VA - It's a historic day for those who graduated and taught at Dunbar High School. A new memorial wall was dedicated Saturday to honor all those people.

And the emotions are still raw 40 years after the school shut its doors for good.

Hundreds walked through the halls of the all-black school for 47 years. It closed its doors in 1970, ending the age of segregated schools in Lynchburg. Now, Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School for Innovation stands in the spot where the high school once was.

About 77 years have passed since Corrine Saunders graduated from Dunbar High School.

"And I don't have many of my classmates here with me that can reminisce with me," said Saunders.

So on Saturday, she's thinking of all those that aren't here to celebrate.

"My dearest friend, she got murdered in North Carolina," said Saunders.

The wall is in place to honor hundreds of students and faculty members. It stands in the front of Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School, marking the spot where the school once stood.

"I mean I've just been crying all afternoon to tell you the truth. It's great, yeah, I think I'm approximately (standing where my) french class was right now," said Robert Goins.

Dunbar High opened its doors for the first time in 1923. The last class graduated in 1970. And the wall is bringing everyone together where it all started.

"The spirit of Dunbar is alive and well and they've memoralized it and it's a great place for the students to come and see the history of Dunbar," said Treney Tweedy, Vice Chairman of Lynchburg City Schools Board.

It cost about $80,000 for the wall to go up. Alumni and community members donated that money. The wall is a project that's been in the making for about two years.