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Hope rises from ashes after Paul Robeson school burns in Detroit | Detroit...

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Hope rises from ashes after Paul Robeson school burns in Detroit 1:49 AM, May. 11, 2011 |

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5/13/2011 5:04 PM


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Above: Larentae' Brown, a 6-year-old first-grader at Paul Robeson Academy, waits to learn the fate of his school Tuesday. He told his mother, Lalita Williams, he was sad not to go. Top: Earlier in the day, fire blazes in the building designed by architect Albert Kahn. / REGINA H. BOONE/Detroit Free Press

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The flames were gone, but the smoldering roof at

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Paul Robeson Academy was enough to drive founder and former principal Ray C. Johnson to his

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yielding academic success. The African-centered magnet school in west Detroit offers hope each year for students from fragile neighborhoods and in difficult situations.

A

Through his sadness, Johnson said there's also a "sense of hope that the vision, goals and objectives of all those who had a part in it ... will somehow continue." The historic brick building -- which once housed St. Francis Home for Boys and was designed by famed architect Albert Kahn -is a symbol of educational success in a SEAN DOERR/Special to the Free Press

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"About the only thing I can do is find another good school for my girls," said Deloris Irving, 40, whose two daughters attended the school. The cause of the early Tuesday blaze is under investigation. Most of Robeson's students will go to nearby Thurgood Marshall Elementary; some will stay on A firefighter battles flames at Paul Robeson Academy in Detroit on Tuesday. The fire started in the attic, in early morning hours. The Detroit Public Schools academy has a reputation for being a safe place for students and for motivating those from difficult circumstances to continue to achieve. / SEAN DOERR/Special to the Free Press

campus in a separate building. What happens after that is unknown. Losing Robeson "would be devastating," said William F. Jones Jr., CEO of Focus: HOPE, a nearby community development nonprofit that works closely with the school.

Paul Robeson school a symbol of success in community

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