Federal Grant Will Support Work to Elevate Historic Significance of Dunbar

Seal of Little Rock
Monday, Mar 11, 2024

Media Release

City of Little Rock Public Relations (501) 371-6801

LITTLE ROCK – The City of Little Rock has received an Underrepresented Communities grant from the National Park Service to support the City’s efforts to obtain “national significance” in the National Register of Historic Places for the Dunbar school site.

The funding will pay for research, preparation, and submission of a nomination for Dunbar to be recognized as a nationally significant historic site. The school, at the intersection of Wright Avenue and Ringo Street, is currently listed in the National Register with state significance. The City sought a federal grant to support the telling of the campus’s full story to reflect the comprehensive themes, significant people, and events of the site related to African American history. The City’s new nomination submission will include important and historically significant facts about Dunbar’s full story that were not included in its original 1980 nomination to the National Register.

The school is the anchor of the Paul Laurence Dunbar School Neighborhood Historic District. For several decades, it was the only public school in Little Rock for Black students. The school building – now the site of the Little Rock School District’s Dunbar Magnet Middle School – is architecturally similar to Central High School.

The City is collaborating with the Little Rock School District, the Historic Dunbar Neighborhood Association and the Quapaw Quarter Association to submit the new nomination. On July 6, 2023, the Little Rock Historic District Commission voted to support the efforts of this partnership to pursue the grant. The City was awarded a grant of $17,700.

Little Rock was one of 21 communities across the country to receive an Underrepresented Communities grant for the survey and nomination of sites within communities that are underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Park Service’s Underrepresented Communities Grant Program is intended to diversify listings in the National Register of Historic Places to include historic places and communities that are currently underrepresented. URC grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and are administered by the National Park Service. For more information about the URC grant program, visit http://go.nps.gov/urc.