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Honoring History

JOHN HOPE SCHOOL 26

Paul laurence dunbar library

Indiana Historical Marker Dedication

Monday, May 16, 2022

On Monday, May 16, 2022 an Indiana Historical Marker honoring the legacy of John Hope School No. 26 and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library, was dedicated near the corner of East 16th Street and Columbia Avenue in front of an audience of mostly School No. 26 alumni. May 16th marked the centennial of the opening of the doors of the Dunbar Library, which served as an Indianapolis public library branch within the school for 45 years. In addition to the dedication ceremony, the documentary, The Glories of Our Journey: A Community Story, was premiered, shedding further light on the rich history of the building and neighborhood The Oaks Academy, Martindale-Brightwood now calls home.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with School 26 alumni and local historians to compile and share this history of this building and its place within the community. We hope to continue to collect and share their stories with you here and hopefully inspire a longing to learn even more about those who went before us.
Read the official Press Release regarding the Marker Dedication and the text included on the marker here.

A Studio Auteur and Beyond Above Media Presentation of a Jerald Harkness Film

Commissioned by The Oaks Academy in partnership with Indiana Humanities, this documentary honors the legacy of John Hope School 26 and Paul Laurence Dunbar Library. A collection of interviews with local historians and School 26 alumni, the documentary sheds light on the rich history of the building and neighborhood.

The documentary was premiered during the Historical Marker Dedication Ceremony, and was later shown at the Kan-Kan Cinema and included a panel discussion about the importance of schools and libraries as community anchors.

Ron Lovett, who attended John Hope from grades 3 through 8 in 1965 to 1971, is one of the alumni leading the project.

“What I mostly remember is those African American teachers who were mentors first and foremost,” Lovett said. “Always bringing the best out of students. Always setting us up for greatness.”

Read more here.

A new Indiana state historical marker commemorating the John Hope School No. 26 was to be unveiled Monday at the Oaks Academy.

Kisha Tandy, curator of social history at the Indiana State Museum, and Ron Lovett, School No. 26 graduate (1971), on “Life. Style. Live!” shared what you need to know about this slice of history.

Read more here.

History was honored Monday night at a school on the city’s northeast side.

One of the first schools for Black students was designated a historical marker during a commemoration ceremony.

Read more here.

For decades, John Hope School No. 26 served as a beacon for all those who attended school and worked there.

“The school was the center point for the neighborhood,” said Ron Lovett, an alumni of the school.

It was one of the first public schools for African American students in Indianapolis. Inside, it housed the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library – the first African American library in the city.

Read more here.

John Hope School 26 was one of the first public schools for Black students in Indianapolis. It’s now home to the Oaks Academy, and it is the subject of a new documentary. “The Glories of Our Journey” examines the history and legacy of the school. WFYI’s Taylor Bennett spoke with 1971 alumnus Ron Lovett and Oaks Academy CEO Andrew Hart to learn more.

Read or listen here.

We are grateful and proud to call this beautiful historic building home, and to pay tribute to the legacy of the school and library that came before us. We honor the history of School 26, its alum, and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library.

We explore more of those years not already covered here.

Have Questions?

Change is always challenging, especially when it may effect your children. Please share any questions or comments you have using the form below, or by emailing me directly at ahart@theoaksacademy.org.

I’ll respond to your inquiry directly and as quickly as I can.