Richard Allen Coalition celebrates Juneteenth

June 21, 2022

This year’s Juneteenth celebration held June 18, sponsored by the Richard Allen Coalition in Georgetown, had special meaning times two.

First, Juneteenth is now a federal holiday, and secondly, the event marked the beginning of a $2.7 million capital campaign to renovate and expand the Richard Allen School, which was a school for African American students dating back to the 1920s.

To jump-start the campaign, coalition President Jane Hovington was presented with a $100,000 community project grant by U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester. She said the project was one of 10 selected from a pool of 150 applicants.

The coalition is hoping for significant funding from this year’s Delaware Bond Bill. “We asked Jane to make a big ask to make this dream a reality,” said Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown. “We are getting close to that in the Bond Bill.”

The school was deeded in 2015 by the state to the coalition thanks to legislation sponsored by King and Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown. In 2019, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Setting the scene for the day, Blunt Rochester called Sussex County a special place of history, family and faith. “This is a day of jubilee and a celebration of freedom for a people who were already free and didn’t know it,” she said.

Juneteenth, short for June 19, marks the date in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out they were free, nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. It was recognized by state officials in 2000.


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