Elite Black Public High Schools in Jim Crow America

In November 1870, four Black students created their own safe space to study in a Washington D.C. church. That space would eventually become the first Black public school, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

Dunbar High became the standard for academic excellence as Black students in attendance were exposed to more than just industrial education. The excitement spread, leading to Black educators finding unique ways to elevate the access and curriculum for Black students across the United States. Even as the country began to integrate, Black students and educators learned that integrated education didn’t mean fair education.

In this episode of Black History In Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. — with additional commentary from Imani Perry of Princeton University, Hasan Jeffries of Ohio State University, Daina Ramey Berry of The University of Texas, and Lawrence Bobo of Harvard University — we celebrate educators who refused to lower the bar and used their resources to ensure Black students achieved exceptional academic heights.

Black History in Two Minutes (or so) is a 9x nominated and 5x Webby Award winning series.

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Archival Materials Courtesy of:
• Everett Collection, Inc.
• Getty Images
• Library of Congress
• The New York Public Library

Additional Archival Material Courtesy of:
• The Montgomery Advertiser
• The New York Times
• Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center

Executive Producers:
• Robert F. Smith
• Henry Louis Gates Jr.
• Dyllan McGee
• Deon Taylor

Senior Producer:
• William Ventura

Series Producers:
• Chinisha Scott
• William Ventura

Executive in Charge of Production:
• Robert L. Yacyshyn

Post Production Supervisor:
• Veronica Leib

Post Production Coordinator:
• Katherine Swiatek

Written By:
• Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Additional Writing:
• Kevin Burke
• Kelsi Lindus
• Chinisha Scott
• William Ventura

• Margaret Metzger
• Anne Yao

• Kevin Burke

Archival Producer:
• Megan Graham

• Zoë Smith

Assistant Editors:
• Patrice Bowman
• Nicholas Mastrangelo

Director of Photography:
• Nikki Bramley
• Nausheen Dadabhoy
• Stephen McCarthy

Graphic Design:
• Anthony Kraus

Special Thanks:
• Daina Ramey Berry
• Sam Hartley
• Elyssa Hess
• Stacey Holman
• Hasan Jeffries
• Peniel Joseph
• Imani Perry

Music By:
• Oovra Music

Be Woke presents is brought to you by Robert F. Smith and Deon Taylor.

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