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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — 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.

The former John Hope building is now home to The Oaks Academy. The dedication is part of an evening of programing dedicated to the legacy and contributions of the school and its close relationship with the community. Following the premiere of the documentary “The Glories of Our Journey: A Community Story,” the new historical marker commemorating John Hope School No. 26 and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library, which was located inside, will be unveiled and dedicated. The event is private, but open to the media. 

Amid Jim Crow segregation, School No. 26 was established in 1901, providing Black children with academic and vocational education. In addition to offering K-9 education, the school served as a community center. Prioritizing inclusivity, School 26 welcomed youth with disabilities, migrants from Southern states, and adults deprived of educational opportunities. In 1922, the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library opened in School No. 26 (renamed John Hope School). Directed by pioneering Black librarian Lillian C. Hall, the library served as a neighborhood hub for Black literature, culture, and history. Despite laws passed in the 1940s, desegregation of city schools like John Hope did not begin until the 1970s with mandatory busing.

Historical Distinctives: 

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