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Meyer applauds unanimous passage of Hockessin Colored School resolution

Delaware News Desk

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer applauded County Council's passage on July 28 of a resolution that will enable the county to preserve and utilize Hockessin Colored School #107 in partnership with the Friends of Hockessin Colored School for future generations.

The memorandum will be formally signed by the county executive in the coming days at a public event at the school.

The school was the subject of one of the court cases in the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. Board of Education, that desegregated schools across the country.

In collaboration with the FOHCS and the national Trust for Public Lands, the school, a relic of this separate and unequal past, will be renovated as a bastion for diversity, inclusion, historical education and social equity, utilizing HCS #107’s unique place in history.

“This is a proud day for New Castle County,” said Meyer. “This building will be preserved for future generations to learn and understand our country’s and our county’s ugly history of injustice, while also serving as a monument to the hard-fought battles of the civil rights movement and the work still left to be done.”

“We are so grateful to welcome New Castle County leadership and County Council as partners in our mission to transform the former Hockessin Colored School #107 into a diversity training, inclusion and social equity center,” said David Wilk, board chair, Friends of Hockessin Colored School #107. “We invite everyone in the community to join us in teaching future generations how to defeat discrimination through inclusion, tolerance and the divine belief that 'all men and women are created equal.'”

All of this would not have been possible without the efforts and leadership of FOHCS board members, the Late Judge Leonard Williams, Bill Allen, Tony Allen, Dick Christopher, The Hon. C.J. Seitz, Drew Fennell, Fred Sears and The Hon. Joshua Martin and Cynthia Primo Martin, who were responsible for raising the money to save the school from sheriff’s sale in 2012 through the Delaware Community Foundation’s African American Empowerment Fund and individual donors.

Hockessin Colored School #107, at 4266 Mill Creek Road in Hockessin, served Delaware’s African-American students in the early 20th century. The conditions were found to be unequal to those of white students in violation of the U.S. Constitution, in a legal case later joined on appeal to become Brown vs. Board of Education.

New Castle County will pay two outstanding mortgages on the property, totaling $172,000 to repay the AAEF by Dec. 31 of this year — while board members of the FOHCS continue to preserve and maintain the School property by paying out of pocket. The FOHCS will design and construct all improvements to HCS #107, and partner with Trust for Public Lands, to fundraise for the school’s operational and capital budgets, with a goal of $1.5 million to establish permanent operations of the school.

The county will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the grounds and the structure(s) on the property. The county will split operating expenses for the property, such as utilities, custodial services, snow removal and grounds maintenance, 75%-25%.