HBCU Edition: What you need to know about Loockerman Hall

Kourtney Brady

Historically black colleges and universities commonly called “HBCUs” defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965 as, “any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary of Education…”

Delaware State Loockerman Hall

In 1723 Nicholas Loockerman purchased 600 acres of land known as “The Range.” Following his death in 1771, the property passed to his grandson,Vincent Loockerman Jr. Evidence suggests that he built the Georgian-style mansion known today as Loockerman Hall soon after inheriting the property. 

A member of the early Revolutionary-era Committee of Inspection, and County Militia, Vincent Loockerman Jr. died on April 5, 1790.

On August 24, 1891, 95 acres of the old plantation where slaves had once toiled were purchased for the purpose of establishing the “Delaware College for Colored Students.” 

Loockerman Hall became the center of the campus, serving variously as a dormitory, classroom, and administration building. Early HBCUs were established to train teachers, preachers and other community members.

During the 20th century, many HBCUs shifted their focus to promote scholarship among African Americans. The academic councils, conferences and scholastic journals showcased black intellectual thought.

Such notable figures as W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. attended a historically black college or university.

HBCUs opened the door of educational opportunity for many African Americans who were once legally denied an education. Additionally, these schools provided African American students with a nurturing environment to explore their collective identities and cultures.

Today, HBCUs uphold a history of scholarship pursued by African Americans in the face of adversity.

A student at Delaware State stated, “DSU is proud of our heritage as one of the country’s first land educational institutions.”

Categories: Culture, Features, HBCUs, History

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