The inadequate condition of schools throughout the nation resulted in a major effort to reform public education following World War I. Delaware was at the forefront of this movement. With the assistance of the Delaware Auxiliary Association and its primary supporter, P. S. duPont, a program to replace outdated schools was undertaken. Noting the poor nature of facilities provided for African-American students enrolled in the state’s segregated schools, the Association made them their first priority. In 1921 they initiated the construction of a modern building at this location to accommodate students from Bridgeville and the surrounding community. Known for a time as the Bridgeville Colored School, the facility was subsequently named for Phillis Wheatley (c1753-1784), the nation’s first published African-American poet. In addition to serving the needs of the area’s elementary and middle school students, the building was a center for community activities. The school was integrated in 1966 and converted for use as North Bridgeville Elementary. It later served as the Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center. Following extensive renovation and expansion, this historic structure was reopened as the Phillis Wheatley Middle School in 2004.
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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 Sarah Denison at (302) 744-5016 or via email at Sarah.Denison@state.de.us..
LOCATION: Bridgeville, 48 Church Street