Historic Black School in Delaware to Become Diversity Training Center

In 1951, Mrs. Sarah Bulah filed a lawsuit against the Delaware State Board of Education. Her daughter Shirley attended the Hockessin Colored School #107, the segregated school that served the community’s Black students. The state did not provide Shirley and other Black children with transportation to the school, while white children were provided with a school bus. Bulah’s lawsuit would eventually become part of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. Now, a community group and New Castle County have signed an agreement to transform the historic Hockessin Colored School #107 into a community and diversity center.

New Castle County and the Friends of Hockessin Colored School #107 signed an memorandum of understanding under which the county will pay off the remaining mortgages on the school, be responsible for upkeep on the property, and pay for up to seventy-five percent of operating costs. The Friends group will be responsible for all renovations to the property and for developing a community programming plan.

Currently, the Friends plan to transform the school house into a diversity training center. Temple University professor David Wilk, head of the board of Friends of Hockessin Colored School, told Delaware Public Media that the aim is to “make this place into a center of human capital optimization and community rebuilding—teaching communities how to create inclusive economic development and the ability to recognize everyone’s contribution and value.” The organization plans to raise over $1 million to execute this vision.

Others in the community want to honor the history of the site. Blanche Tucker, a former student at Hockessin Colored School, hoped to see the school restored for the community’s young people. “I would like to see our grandchildren and great-grandchildren learn to appreciate this building, because they only know it as it is now. And it was a beautiful place,” she said.