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Hickstown School

Lillian SchoolPhoto courtesy of Fisk University Franklin Library, Special Collections

This three-teacher school was built for the 1922-3 school year. It was constructed on two acres of land and cost $4,700. Of this total, $500 came from the black community, $3,300 from public funds (provided by the Durham County school board), and $900 came from the Rosenwald Fund. The Hickstown School was located in Durham Township on Crest Street, near where the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital is now located. It was completed during the tenure of Jeanes supervisor Mattie Day. In 1927 it was one of the schools annexed into the Durham city school district.

At the time the school was built, the black community of Hickstown had been petitioning for a new school building in a better location since 1919. School board meeting minutes from that year record their pledge to contribute part of the cost of the school in cash, labor, and/or materials. The minutes also record  the board’s verbal commitments to the community. When work was slow to begin on the new school, members of the community asked for the assistance of white community leaders in the form of signatures on a petition to be presented to the school board. This got immediate results.

For the 1924-25 school year, an addition was built, making the school large enough for four teachers. The addition cost $1,480, with $75 coming from the black community, $1,205 from public funds, and $200 from the Rosenwald Fund. This addition, like those of other schools in the county, came about because of huge population growth in Durham County at the time.

Black School Patrons Named in the Durham County School Board Minutes

September 1, 1919 Henry Lyon

Lillian School Julius Rosenwald visits Hickstown School on a visit to Durham. Photo courtesy of Fisk University Franklin Library, Special Collections

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