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 states where slavery was legal before the Civil War.

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.

Sources

Historical information derived from the collection.

Content Description

Oral histories and images related to the School Hill community, collected at two events.

"Preserving the Past: Gathering History & Mementos of the New London Road / School Hill Community," was held on Saturday, May 20, 2017, and was sponsored by the Friends of School Hill, NAACP of Delaware, and the University of Delaware. It comprises two series: I. Administrative materials and II. Audiovisual materials and images. Additional documentation from the event, including the event sign-in sheet, completed release forms, and release and metadata forms for scanned images, are maintained in the collection folder housed in Special Collections.

"A Celebration for the New London Avenue School, One Hundred Years," was held on Sunday, March 6, 2022, and was also sponsored by the Friends of School Hill. It comprises one series (III.), which includes both images and ephemera.