April 2, 2023 Zebulon Miletsky
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Norton Introduces Bill To Create Commemorative Coin To Honor Paul Lawrence Dunbar

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the Paul Laurence Dunbar Commemorative Coin Act to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to mint 50,000 five-dollar coins, 400,000 one-dollar coins and 750,000 half-dollar coins in recognition of Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the first influential African American poets in American literature. The surcharge on each coin sold would benefit scholarships and similar activities of the Dunbar Alumni Federation, the alumni association for the historic Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School, the first public high school for African Americans in the United States. Norton is a Dunbar alumna.

“I am a proud graduate of Dunbar, a storied African American high school in our country,” Norton said. “It was the first college preparatory high school for African American students in the United States.

“Paul Laurence Dunbar was revered by Americans as one of the greatest African American poets in our nation’s history. Minting a coin in his honor would be particularly fitting since his poetry captured African Americans in their own terms no long after slavery, while also raising funds for worthy causes undertaken by the Dunbar Alumni Federation.”

Many well-known and accomplished African Americans have graduated from Dunbar. Among many notable alumni are: Edward Brooke, the first popularly elected African American to the U.S. Senate; Wesley A. Brown, the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy; and Robert C. Weaver, the first-ever Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Dunbar Alumni Federation was organized in 2002 to provide scholarships and other financial support to students and graduates of Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School.