Saving a school that "shouldn't have existed"

July 22, 2011 3:16:47 PM PDT
By all accounts, School #107 in Hockessin, Delaware never should have existed. To some its very sight was stomach churning.

Now, though, many once disgusted by its presence can't stand the thought of its absence. The lessons learned by its mere existence too important to fade with the wrecking ball.

"I get very emotional about it," said former student Lois Johnson.

If developers have their way, that ball could strike someday soon, unless the Hockessin Historical Society can raise enough cash to save it.

"To lose a building of this historic stature would be a major blow to the community," said Joe Lake, Jr. of the Hockessin Historical Society.

In the early 1950's Lois Johnson was classmates with Shirley Bulah. Both young residents of Hockessin, they were denied admission to the gleaming, then-modern new School #29.

Instead they, like all other African-American students, would have to go to the single room School #107, just steps away.

At the time, Delaware was one of just 17 states with segregated schools and Shirley's mom, Sarah, would have none of it. She sued and it was a suit that became part of the famed Brown v. Board of education case before the US Supreme Court.

That case ended segregation in schools.

Gathered at the school on Friday, which is now the Hockessin Community Center, were activists and former students of the school pledged to raise $207,000 by July 27th.

It's the amount they'll need to stop developers from tearing it down.

Ideally, any money raised would not just save the building but would help expand it, so what was School 107 can continue to serve the community in which it was not always welcome.

If you would like to help, visit the website of the Hockessin Community Center.