Fort Myers’ historical African-American society has always believed in the importance of a high school education, and Dunbar High School was built in 1927 to fulfill that goal. Lee County’s black citizens had to pay for part of the construction themselves, and the Board of Education cut costs further by reusing architectural plans from Edison Park Elementary, a white school across town. Dunbar High School became a hub of activity. Named after revered black poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, it was a significant boost to the black community because before its construction, black students were only taught through eighth grade. With the high school open, black students throughout Lee County as far as Sanibel Island, and neighboring Charlotte and Collier counties, were able to receive a public high school education. In the 1961/1962 school year, students from grades 9-12 were transferred to the new Dunbar Senior High School on east Edison Avenue. This building then became Dunbar Junior High for two years until the junior high students joined the high school location. In 1977, the original building was renamed Dunbar Community School. Prior to that, it was used as a 7th grade learning center and a middle school. It is now an adult and community education center, continuing its outreach to young and old alike. In 1992, it was listed on the National Registry of Historical Places.
More information about Dunbar Community School may be found here.