As blacks became free, they recognized the importance of education for becoming productive, independent members of American society.  Most black churches offered Sunday school or day school, or both.  In 1868, Wilmington’s five African American churches had over 400 students enrolled in Sunday school. Church-related educational activities provided religious instruction, basic education for literacy, and moral training for both children and adults. The concern for education is one of the ways in which black churches took responsibility for more than the spiritual development of their members.

After the Civil War Delaware’s African Americans pushed for expanded educational opportunities.  Along with the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Delaware Association (a white charitable organization), churches played a leading role in the effort.  Churches often provided land for schools, and ministers sometimes taught when other teachers were unavailable.

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Sunday School, Bethel A.M.E. Church, Wilmington, late 1940s-early 1950s

Sunday School, Bethel A.M.E. Church, Wilmington
Ca. late 1940s-early 1950s
Courtesy of Bethel A.M.E. Church

 

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Sunday School program at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Wilm., ca. 1950s

Sunday School Program at
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church,

Wilmington
Ca. 1950s
Courtesy of the Episcopal Church
of Saint Andrew and Matthew

 

 
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Star Hill Colore School, Courtesy Hagley Museum and Library Star Hill Colored School
Courtesy of Hagley Museum
and Library
 

 

Milford Colored School, Courtesy of DE Public Archives

Milford Colored School
Courtesy of
Delaware Public Archives
 
These are two of the schools that had a strong connection with a neighboring church.
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Third Annual Boy's Day, Ezion Methodist Church, Wilm., 1932 _Cover

Third Annual Boy's Day, Ezion Methodist Church, Wilm., 1932 _inside

Third Annual Boy's Day,
Ezion Methodist Church, Wilmington
January 31, 1932
Courtesy of Ezion-Mount Carmel
United Methodist Church
 
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Baptist Young People's Union Weekly, Meeting Topics, 1929-30

Baptist Young People's Union Weekly, Meeting Topics, 1929-30

Baptist Young People's Union Weekly Devotional Meeting, Pledge Card

Baptist Young People's
Union Weekly Devotional
Meeting Topics and
Pledge Card (bottom left)
1929-30
Thelma Young Papers,
Delaware Historical Society
 
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Peter Spencer League Young People's Topics, 1936_Cover

Peter Spencer League Young People's Topics, 1936_inside

Peter Spencer League 
Young People's Topics
1936
Courtesy of anonymous lender
 

 

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