Black History Month Spotlight – Horace Mann High School

Mann-SignThe new Arkansas Civil Rights History Audio Tour was launched in November 2015. Produced by the City of Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock allows the many places and stories of the City’s Civil Rights history to come to life an interactive tour.  This month, during Black History Month, the Culture Vulture looks at some of the stops on this tour which focus on African American history.

Horace Mann Senior High School opened in 1956 as one of two new Little Rock public high schools, after the 1954 U. S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision. Mann was built in the predominantly black eastern part of Little Rock, while Hall High was in a predominantly affluent and white western area of residence. This plan ensured that, in practical terms, both schools would remain racially segregated. The assignment of an all-black teaching faculty to Mann and an all-white teaching faculty to Hall underscored this intent.

After Mann was built, the school board transferred black students from Dunbar High, the city’s existing segregated black high school, to Mann. Dunbar then became a junior high school. Teachers were divided and reassigned, new principals were named, and the school mascots respectively became the “Dunbar Bobcats” and the “Horace Mann Bearcats.” The schools are now Horace Mann Arts and Science Magnet Middle School and the Dunbar International Studies Magnet Middle School. In 2012, both alumni groups combined to form the National Dunbar Horace Mann Alumni Association.

The app, funded by a generous grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council, was a collaboration among UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity, the City of Little Rock, the Mayor’s Tourism Commission, and KUAR, UALR’s public radio station, with assistance from the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.