The cradle of African-American Catholicism in Delaware, St. Joseph Church was organized in 1889 by Father John A. DeRuyter of the Josephites. Services were first held in the basement of St. Mary’s Church on 6th and Pine Streets. Incorporated as St. Joseph’s Society for Colored Missions on March 4, 1890, the first church structure was dedicated in October of the same year. During the next few years, Father DeRuyter expanded the church’s role in the community to include an orphanage, a school and a free dispensary. One of the school’s most prominent students was State Senator Herman M. Holloway, Sr., the first African-American to serve in the Delaware State Senate.

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The Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at historically significant locations and sites across the state. For more information on this program, please contact Connor Graham at (302) 744-5019 or via email at

LOCATION: Wilmington. East side of French Street, near the intersection of French Street and 11th Street.