So what's next in the landmark process?
"Just celebrate," says Peter Strazzabosco , spokesman for the city's department of Housing and Economic Development.
To the alums, their achievement will matter most to the students who may know the history least.
"We want to encourage our kids to keep looking up and moving forward, to realize opportunities are there that they have to just grasp," says Dawson, president of the alumni coalition.
She feels the school's remarkable history only can inspire new generations, and she and the coalition hope to stage a major celebration of the landmark status in the spring.
"We want to try to tell the story of DuSable and the small schools too," says Dawson, "so the kids who come along today will know that historical background."
Now that the building's future has been secured, that history will not be wiped away.
To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich.