Community February 12, 2024

360-Degree View of the Future Home of Ellsworth Dansby Jr. Magnet School – The Latest Addition to Decatur Public Schools!

If you haven’t been over by Oak Grove Park, you may want to go take a look at the progress of the future home of Ellsworth Dansby Jr. Magnet School – the latest addition to Decatur Public Schools.


On Tuesday, September 26, 2023, the DPS Board of Education approved naming the new building Ellsworth Dansby Jr. Magnet School.

Mr. Ellsworth Dansby Junior was a native of Decatur, born on October 5, 1914. He was a graduate of Decatur High School and one of the first black men to graduate from Millikin University. But what Mr. Dansby is most known for is his military service — he was the second black man to be sworn into the Army Air Force, the first enlisted man in the group to receive the rank of master sergeant during World War II, and a member of the first black aviation unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron of the Army Air Corps, which later became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

Also, Mr. Dansby was always fascinated with flying. He and his friends built model airplanes. And, at the age of 12, Mr. Dansby flew an airplane alone at a farm airstrip near Dalton City, taking off and landing safely.

Mr. Dansby began applying to the Air Force shortly after his graduation from high school. He joined the Army Air Force just as the 99th Squadron was activated at Chanute Field in Rantoul and sent to Tuskegee, Alabama. That’s where Mr. Dansby became the first African-American master sergeant and one of the “Tuskegee Airmen,” the nation’s first black military fighter pilots.

Finally, you can find out more about this project and the history behind the man by CLICKING HERE.

Housing in the Area

This Decatur Public School will be near the Home Park area – a great place to live in Decatur, Illinois! You can see the park in this video here:

You can find a great home in the Decatur Public School District by connecting with one of our agents.

Take a look at this aerial 360-degree view of the construction site!