It’s official: Richard Allen School registered among nation’s historic places

It’s official: Richard Allen School registered among nation’s historic places

By Glenn Rolfe

Delaware State News

GEORGETOWN – A longstanding educational era in Georgetown’s history now has national acclaim.

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs recently informed the Richard Allen Coalition that the Richard Allen School was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 20, 2019. 

“This action was taken by the United States Department of the Interior in response to the State of Delaware’s nomination of the property and our interest in having its historic value recognized,” stated Diaz Bonville, chair and member of the Richard Allen Coalition board.

The former Richard Allen School in Georgetown.

The Richard Allen School in Georgetown opened its doors in the 1920s as one of 80 schools built for African American children in Delaware by philanthropist Pierre S. DuPont. It continued to serve as the heart of the African American community for over half a century.

When desegregation was implemented, it became part of the Indian River School District. Twelve years ago, the school district decided to close the school.

In 2014, a diverse group of men and women came together to form the Richard Allen Coalition. The coalition’s goal is to restore the school, so it can once again be a cultural, civic and educational center.

The Delaware General Assembly in 2015 passed a bill which deeded the building to the Richard Allen Coalition. At the bill signing in front of the school on Aug. 12, 2015, then Delaware Governor Jack Markell said, “In the end, it came down to members of the community who had a vision that they wanted to keep alive.”

The National Register of Historic Places is the U.S. government’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation. 

Listing in the National Register provides formal recognition of a property’s historical, architectural, or archaeological significance based on a uniform set of standards that are utilized by every state.

A certificate of acknowledge the listing of the Richard Allen School property will be held Thursday, Aug. 8 at 11 a.m. on the historic property of the Richard Allen School, located at 316 S. Railroad Avenue, Georgetown. 

The community is invited to share in the celebration of the historic school: “A Proud Legacy…A Promising Future … Building Together.”

The school was named after Richard Allen, a freed slave and founder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in the late 18th century in Philadelphia.

State archives historic marker recognizing the Richard Allen School.

In June of 2015, the state of Delaware installed a historical marker on the grounds of the Richard Allen School.

For more information, contact Diaz J. Bonville, chair/board member at 302-528-2265 or Diaz122455@aol.com; Jane Hovington, Richard Allen Coalition resident at 302-258-7182 or jehovahrohi@aol.com; or Betty Deacon, RAC Executive Director at 302-644-4303 or Betty.deacon@gmail.com.

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