Creating a network for Delaware’s DuPont Schools

Communities aim to preserve legacy, history of DuPont Schools in Delaware

Communities across the state are aiming to preserve the legacy and history of dozens of Delaware’s DuPont Schools, which educated hundreds of students of color during a time of racial segregation.

DuPont Schools are found in all three of Delaware’s counties and were built in the early 20th century solely for African American and Native American students. Delaware philanthropist Pierre Samuel du Pont provided the funding that led to the construction of these segregated schools in the years after World War I. The investment came more than 20 years after the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court ruling stating that segregation was legal, as long as the separate spaces were “equal.”

This image shows the small, brick building that housed The Hockessin Colored School #107 on Millcreek Road in Delaware.
The Hockessin Colored School #107, located at 4266 Millcreek Road.

Now, decades later, some of the still-existing schools are in need of preservation, maintenance, programming and other resources. Instead of working separately in silos, representatives are coming together from various communities and organizations linked to the sites and historic preservation in the First State, including community historian Syl Woolford, Newark chapter of the NAACP President Freeman Williams and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA). The ultimate goal is to create a new network of support for the DuPont Schools, so that their histories and stories can continue to be shared with future generations.

“There is strength in numbers and our goal is the same: Everyone wants to preserve and share the history of the schools,” said HCA Deputy Director Amy Golden-Shepherd. “It would be impactful for the community to form a network so that all people connected to any DuPont Schools can participate, and we at HCA hope to provide support for that effort.”

While 90 schools were originally built, only 84 could be located through a recent comprehensive survey, which also collected the information needed to recommend some of the sites for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Of those 84, only 48 buildings still exist, including one (White Oak in Kent County) that was moved from its original site in the 1960s.



Image for the DuPont Colored Schools Story Map

In late November 2023, David Wilk and supporters of Hockessin Colored School #107 opened their doors so that organizers could host a day-long conference that included supporters of multiple DuPont Schools, including Iron Hill, Buttonwood, The Friends of School Hill, Rabbit’s Ferry and Hockessin schools, as well as the Hockessin Historical Society, ​the Delaware Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and HCA to share their stories and learn more about available resources, such as how to preserve historical items and state-level funding opportunities, such as Delaware’s grant-in-aid program.

While a formal network still needs to be established, this initial collaborative effort has laid the groundwork for interested representatives and communities to collectively move forward.

Anyone interested in participating or learning more is welcome to contact HCA by emailing Deputy Director Amy Golden-Shepherd at

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