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With the addition of the Pre-Kindergarten Education Center to our Middle School location, we are delighted to announce the renaming of this Oaks campus. Moving forward, 1301 East 16th Street will be known as The Oaks Academy, Martindale-Brightwood at John Hope School 26.
Our hope is that this combination of identities – storied neighborhood, historic school, and current school – serves as a reminder of the unity that we advance at The Oaks Academy. Each identifier celebrates what occurs inside and beyond the building while connecting the present to the past.
While we are establishing this name for our building, it’s also true that each program housed in the building will continue to be referred to individually. For example, “My children attend The Oaks Middle School” or “The Oaks Pre-K Center”. Alternatively, when the campus is referred to in a general sense, we will cite the location; such as, “I’ll meet you in the boardroom at the Martindale-Brightwood campus.” Naturally, there will be plenty of welcomed crossovers between campus and individual programs.
In honor of the rich history of the neighborhood, the Indiana Historical Bureau recently approved a joint historical marker commemorating John Hope, School 26, and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch Library. School 26, originally built as a segregated school, was once the largest elementary school in Indiana and served as a hub for the Martindale-Brightwood community. The Dunbar Library was the first Indianapolis-based, publicly funded library established in an African American community, and was led by the first African American librarian in the state.
The marker honors these distinctions and also pays tribute to the countless personal stories spanning 120 years. The school and library served as the heart of the community for generations and both continue to be a source of important connection and shared history for neighbors and alumni of School 26. We anticipate the marker dedication ceremony, scheduled for May 16, 2022, as a celebration of the centennial of the opening of the doors to Dunbar Branch.
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