The reunions started more than half a century ago as a way to maintain friendships. But Gray said the students later used the events to collect scholarship money for Dunbar students who planned to go to college and to recognize the vast accomplishments of their former classmates.
For example, when Sen. Edward W. Brooke III, the first black person to be elected by popular vote to the U.S. Senate, wrote in a book that the reunion was used as an opportunity to hear about his writings.
The same was done for Adelaide Cromwell, a professor emeritus at Boston University, who had written a book examining Boston’s black upper class from 1750 to 1950.
“This was African American history told through the mouths of those who experienced it,” said Betty Hewlett, who attended last week’s event in memory of her mother, Marjorie Phillips Hewlett, who died five years ago.
“I don’t think they even realize how special they are,” said Hewlett, a lawyer in Prince George’s County. “They are nothing short of amazing.”
- From The Washington Post, May 12
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