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Block in Wilmington named for county councilman, civil rights and education advocate

A block in Wilmington now bears the name of a longtime elected official and education advocate.


The city dedicated ‘Jea P. Street Way’ on Wilmington’s Westside to recognize Street’s contributions to the community— especially its children.

Street retired last year after thirty years as executive director of the Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood House, but remains on New Castle County Council representing parts of the City of Wilmington and New Castle. He has served on Council for 14 years.

Street also served as Wilmington’s Director of  Parks and Recreation and chairman of the Coalition to Save Our Children — where he represented black children in the final stages of school desegregation litigation.


Elected officials from the City, County and Delaware’s Congressional delegation gathered in front of Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center Friday to unveil the new sign.

Senator Chris Coons, a former New Castle County executive, said Street comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. “He never hesitated to speak truth to power,” said Coons.


“Our kids are grateful to you,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, who dedicated the block through an executive order. “The voiceless are grateful to you. The dispossessed are very grateful to you every day. And this small gesture will make sure that nobody is ever going to forget the great work you’ve done. ”

While officials and friends lauded Street for his past accomplishments, Street himself said his work is not done.

“We got unfinished business,” said Street. “And in this administration, we’ve got more work to do than ever before.”

The sign bearing Street’s name hangs on the corner of 6th Street and N. Van Buren.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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