Friends of School Hill oral histories and images

Biographical and Historical Notes

The first documented public school for African-American youth in the Newark community was established in 1867 by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. This was one of several schools established in Delaware during the post-Civil War "reconstruction" period through this federal government program, which was designed to assist African-Americans in former slave states.

In 1922 a new school housing grades 1-8 was built here on land purchased from John Nields. There were four classrooms on the first floor and a lunchroom in the basement. Funding for construction was provided by P. S. duPont and the Delaware School Auxiliary Association. The building functioned as a school until integration took place in 1958.

The school and surrounding property, also known as "School Hill", was an important meeting place for neighborhood residents for social and recreational gatherings as well. In 1961, the City of Newark purchased the building and grounds. Significant renovations took place and the New London Community Center opened in 1970. In 1977, the building was renamed in honor of George M. Wilson, a leader in improving housing conditions for members of Newark's African-American community and former member of Newark's City Council.

Content Description

Oral histories and images collected at the event, "Preserving the Past: Gathering History & Mementos of the New London Road / School Hill Community," Saturday, May 20, 2017. The event was sponsored by the Friends of School Hill, NAACP of Delaware, and the University of Delaware.

The collection comprises two series, I. Administrative materials and II. Oral histories and images.