Efforts Underway to Preserve Delaware School that Helped Bring Down Segregation

Plans to preserve a historic African American school in Hockessin, Delaware are beginning to develop.

Hockessin Colored School 107 was a one-room schoolhouse that served Hockessin’s African American community. It is most well known as one of the schools that was involved in the Supreme Court case that struck down school segregation. The Hockessin case began when one parent tried to arrange a bus a ride for her child to the school. At the time, African American students had to walk, sometimes many miles, to attend class, while a bus drove children to the nearby white school.

After the Supreme Court ruling, some students at Hockessin Colored School 107 began attending the town’s white school. One former student told Delmarva Public Radio that she had “never been so disillusioned by people” as when she began attending the integrated school. African American students encountered racist stereotypes in their schoolbooks and faced protests and taunts from both white students and parents.

Hockessin Colored School 107 closed in 1959. Since then, the building has largely stood empty. In 2008, plans were made to turn the old school into a community center, but renovations to the building were never completed. Today, 65 years after the Supreme Court’s integration ruling, the school is owned by the Friends of the Hockessin Colored School 107. The Friends want to expand the existing building and turn part of it into a museum dedicated to the school’s history. However, they also want the building to be an active part of the community today, with programming pertaining to “education, entrepreneurship, health and wellness, and doing good for others.” The Friends plan to work closely with former students in their efforts to preserve and reinvigorate the historic school.