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Dunbar Stafff

Our Dunbar 100th Anniversary - The Gift of Connections

The Gift of Connections has resulted in our DSAA receiving wonderful photos and information on the early history and staff of Dunbar. After a presentation on Dunbar at the Smokey Hill Museum, Jennifer Toelle, the Curator of Collections & Research at the Museum, had information to that she shared on the first Principal of Dunbar. Below is what she shared with me:

“…I also wrote the Kansas Wesleyan Pictorial history book. Porter is featured in the book on page, 21….I created a Google Folder to share some of the pictures I have of Powers G. Porter, Dunbar’s first Principal. Porter is the first African American graduate of KWU. He taught in Atchison, Olathe and Salina. One of the pictures in the google drive I got from the Johnson County Museum. The woman pictured with him is his wife, Alma whose father was Joseph Blackburn Bass – a successful newspaper man in Kansas City.”

The pictures of Powers Porter include 2 photos of him while he was a student at Kansas Wesleyan and a photo taken at a school in Olathe, KS.

We deeply appreciate Jennifer Toelle sharing this important information! Principal Porter can be found in a book that she published, The Campus History Series: Kansas Wesleyan University.

Clara Mae Jones

During our first meeting in June, Superintendent Exline mentioned that her father had told her about his first encounter with a student from Dunbar when he was a child. After she attended our 100thAnniversary Celebration, she told her Dad all about the celebration and he reminisced with her about his experiences. He then went through her grandmother belongings and found a picture that he gave to her. Superintendent Exline emailed me the picture, thanking us for letting her be a part of the Dunbar celebration.

The picture was of a former teacher at Dunbar School. Miss Clara Mae Jones. Receiving this picture had me in tears for two reasons: one, this is the only picture that we have of Miss Jones, who taught at Dunbar from 1928-1943. And secondly, Miss Jones was my Mother’s favorite teacher! I still hear my Mother talking about Miss Jones and her flamboyant style from the way she dressed to the way that she read aloud to her class. My Mother, were she alive today, would have been so excited to see the picture of Miss Jones!

Connections…with the past…with unexpected individuals is keeping the Dunbar legacy alive. Thank you Superintendent Exline for sharing and being a part of our Dunbar 100th Anniversary Celebration.

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