Few if any men in this century have contributed so much toward the ideas of freedom as Roscoe Dunjee. He was separate and apart from contemporary thinking on issues and solutions to human relations problems.
For 40 years as editor of Oklahoma City’s only black newspaper, The Black Dispatch, Roscoe Dunjee led the way in the struggle for civil rights. In his own words, he was endeavored “to interpret the mind, the aspiration, the object, and longing of his people.” Dunjee was aware of the dire need for his people to have a voice in the affairs of the city and state and, after purchasing a small-job printing plant, published the first edition of the newspaper at the age of 31.
Dunjee, who saw and experienced firsthand the terrible discrimination and knew there was no representation at any level of government, was vitally interested in the work of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). A member of the NAACP's national board of directors, he served for sixteen years as president of the Oklahoma State Conference of Branches of the NAACP. In 1932 the Guthrie, Tulsa, Chickasha, Muskogee, and Oklahoma City branches met and formed the nation's first state conference of NAACP branches. Dunjee believed that this type of structure would allow the pooling of resources for a more effective fight against discrimination and segregation. Under Dunjee's leadership the state organization became involved in several court cases that would affect segregation in Oklahoma, including the Ada Lois Sipuel (Fisher) and George McLaurin cases that dealt with segregation in higher education and the Jess Hollins case which focused on segregated juries.
Born in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, with his family Dunjee relocated to Oklahoma Territory in 1892. Although he briefly attended Oklahoma’s Colored Agricultural and Normal University, known today as Langston University, it was the inheritance of a 1,500-volume library, combined with his analytical mind, that made him one of the most educated men in Oklahoma.
Dunjee was a self-taught reader. He read more than 1,500 books he inherited from his father.
Dunjee moved to Oklahoma Territory with his family in 1892 after his father John Dunjee, a pastor and missionary, was hired to organize Baptist work throughout North America.