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Delaware Public Archives to commemorate African American History Month with special program

The Delaware Public Archives kicks-off African American History Month this weekend with a special program called Building an Education Future: Delaware State College and its Relationship with Delaware’s Comprehensive High Schools in the 1950’s:


The Public Archives’ First Saturday programs typically highlight a speaker talking about a topic they have expertise on.  But this Saturday’s program differs from others according to Tom Summers - the Archives’ manager of outreach and public services.


“In this program, we’re actually going to have some oral history," said Summers. "We’re going to have some students who attended the African American schools here in Delaware, who went on to attend Delaware State College during the time period of the 1950’s.”

Summers says during the ‘50’s Delaware State College was struggling.


“And one of the ways that they survived is that they recruited a lot of the students who came from what was known as the colored schools here in Delaware; a lot of the students wound up going to Delaware State College to get their education,” Summers said.

Summers notes those schools were William C. Jason School in Sussex County, William H. Henry School in Kent County and Louis L. Redding School in New Castle County.

Former Kent County Levy Court member and State Rep. Donald Blakey leads Saturday’s program at Archives. He graduated from Delaware State College in 1958.


Summers says Blakey will recount the hiring of Jerome Holland as Delaware State College’s president in 1953 and how he dealt with the challenges of student recruitment at the struggling school.


The program is free and starts at 10:30 a.m.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.