Dunbar reunion parade defies rain, carries on

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, September 13, 2022

EAST SPENCER — Despite rain that, at times, fell so hard windshield wipers could not keep up, participants in Saturday’s mass Dunbar school reunion grabbed umbrellas, waved from opened car windows, or, in the bravest cases, danced up Long Street in T-shirts, grinning from ear to ear.

The parade was a first-ever joint venture between alumni of Dunbar and Price schools, under the theme of “Unity N Community,” and was part of a weekend-long reunion. The parade was followed by a cook-out at Royal Giants park, and Saturday night there was a grand gala at Livingstone Hospitality Center on Jake Alexander Boulevard. Sunday, a memorial service was held at Southern City AME Zion Church.

Saturday’s rain could have forced another group to hold off, but not these folks.

“East Spencer showed its resilience and tenaciousness, and its commitment to the Dunbar Mass Reunion and parade,” said East Spencer Mayor Barbara Mallett. “We were determined after so many years that this was going to happen, even in the rain.”

The Dunbar Alumni Association was formed, according to its website, in December 2004, when “a group of former Paul Laurence Dunbar students held an organizational meeting at the Zeta-Sigma Building, 1305 Short Street, Salisbury, in response to a letter circulated by former student Arnethia Alexander-Daniels. Alexander-Daniels stated that the purpose of the meeting was to form an association and to discuss avenues to assist in the preservation of the Dunbar School buildings and grounds. She and her husband John secured information to apply for a school’s listing as a national historical site on the national registry. The initial meeting resulted in the organization becoming incorporated as the Dunbar School Alumni Association, Inc.”

Since then, the struggle over the future of the school building has waged on, but the members of the association have ever stronger bonds.

Essie Mae Foxx, one of the founders, would have been proud to see her granddaughter, Kyuanna Foxx, helping direct traffic in the parade, umbrella in hand, undaunted.

“I grew up here, and I’m so proud of what she did, and we decided family needed to be here to help,” she said.