The Richard Allen Elementary School in Georgetown is one of the 80 "colored schools" built by Pierre DuPont in the 1920s. It was DuPont's desire to provide African-American children educational opportunities not available during the time when schools were segregated.
Former Gov. Jack Markel signed legislation passed by the state Legislature turning the building over to the Richard Allen Coalition Aug. 12, 2015. The coalition has been working diligently to provide funding to make the necessary repairs and provide programs at the school.
The Richard Allen Coalition is hosting the third annual Gala Friday, Feb. 3, at the CHEER Center, Georgetown. This year the keynote speaker will be Sylvester Woolford of Newark, a lecturer on history and genealogy. He received a bachelor's degree at Delaware State University and his MBA from Rutgers University. Woolford began researching his own family's history developing his interest in history and genealogy. He has lectured throughout Delaware on the history he has uncovered.
This year's theme is Native Sons of Sussex County. In addition there will be musical selections from the a cappella sound of Sombarkin', a musical group featuring Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett Jr. and Jerome McKinney. This trio's voices blend so well it is amazing to discover just who is singing which part.
The group uses the skill of vocal instrumentation and harmony to deliver an explosive performance of Negro spirituals, folk, gospel, blues and jazz. Their technique is reminiscent of the ole time camp meetings, as well they deliver a contemporary soulful sound with surprising jazz licks and blues blends.
The cost of the gala is $40. Interested parties can purchase tickets either by calling 302-258-7182 or 302-644-4303, or mail Richard Allen Coalition, P.O. Box 624, Georgetown, DE 19947. For more information, call the numbers listed above and information will be mailed out.