Every year we commemorate the achievements and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. When Dr. King spoke to the packed audience in the Howard High School auditorium on September 12, 1960, he delivered a message of patience and persistence. “Protest, yes, but with dignity and discipline to achieve our goals,” said King in this newspaper clipping from the News Journal. News Journal Article on Martin Luther King Jr.’s only visit to Delaware on September 13, 1960.cpy
Dr. King’s first and only visit is just a small part of Delaware’s history during the civil rights movement. Did you know that Brown vs. The Board of Education is actually comprised of 5 cases, one of which was from Delaware? These cases were unsuccessfully tried in lower courts then appealed to the Supreme Court where they were combined to create Brown vs. The Board of Education. The case from Delaware, which began as two cases before being combined, involved a one-roomed school house in Hockessin and Howard High School in Wilmington, where Dr. King spoke on his visit. In both cases, students traveled nearly an hour to attend schools that were not equal in resources.
Many documents, photos and recordings from the civil rights movement in Delaware can be found here at the Delaware Public Archives. Notable collections include photographs, recordings from NAACP and NAAWP rallies, legislation addressing segregation laws, newspaper collections, court records from Evans vs. Buchanan (relating to segregation in Wilmington schools), and documents addressing segregation and desegregation of schools from the Department of Public Instruction.
Dr. King had a dream that still lives on today. Stop by and examine documents pertaining to that dream here at the Delaware Public Archives.