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The founding of Howard High School in Wilmington, Delaware in 1867 is celebrated on this date.
For more than 150 years this historic institution has played a central role in educating the Black Community of Wilmington, Delaware. The Society for the Improvement of Morals of the People of African Descent was active in its beginning. The school was named for General Oliver Otis Howard, who worked with the Freedmen's Bureau. Edwina B. Kruse served as Howard’s first principal between 1871 and 1922. From 1902 to 1920, Alice Dunbar Nelson was a teacher and administrator there.
In the 1930s and 1940s though innovative and traditional, segregated Howard High School was a continual source of frustration for Black parents in the Wilmington suburb of Claymont. While their community had a well-maintained school in a picturesque setting with spacious facilities, African American children could not, by law, attend the Claymont School. Instead they were transported daily on a 20-mile round trip to Howard High School located in an undesirable section of Wilmington.
This became part of suit that led to the Brown v. Board of Education case. Over the years in Delaware and far beyond, Howard High School strove for excellence in academic study, athletics, and the arts. In 1975, the Howard Comprehensive High School became the Howard Career Center. An expanded complex was constructed adjacent to the original structure. Today, this historic building houses special programs for a diverse student body. It is also home to two special collections of historic memorabilia showcasing the achievements of Wilmington's African American community throughout the 20th century.
The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York