Cressworth C. Lander & The
Lander Auditorium


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CressWorth C. Lander

Cressworth Lander attended the segregated Dunbar School for black children from 1931 to 1940, graduating as valedictorian of his class.

He went on to Tucson High School, and then served in the Marines during World War II at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. After the service, he attended Los Angeles State College and graduated in the 1950s, majoring in business administration. He returned to Tucson, where he began his career in public service.

In his volunteer roles, he worked to develop affordable housing in the South Park Avenue neighborhood, served on the Pima Council on Aging’s executive committee and the University of Arizona’s African American Advisory Council.

In 2002, he was elected president of the Dunbar Coalition and his efforts, along with members, led to $4.8 million in government funding to renovate the historic blacks-only Dunbar School into a history and civil rights museum and cultural center — Dunbar Pavilion, north of downtown.

His work for the Dunbar Pavilion has paved the way for the community we are fighting everyday to preserve. We honor Mr. Lander through the auditorium which hosts much of the activities that take place at the Dunbar Pavilion.

Cress believed in the Dunbar project because it is beneficial to the entire community, and will help our young people with education and job opportunities.
— former City Councilman Chuck Ford, a coalition member.