School on East Lake Street in Middletown was named in honor of the first African American lawyer in Delaware, Louis L. Redding, part of the legal team that successfully challenged school segregation in the Brown v. Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Louis L. Redding High School Alumni Association and the Delaware Public Archives dedicated a state historic marker April 18 at the site of the former Louis L. Redding Comprehensive High School, now known as Redding Middle School on East Lake Street in Middletown.
Current Redding students and staff attended the ceremony with alumni of the school, district administrators and board of education members, state legislators, members of the Middletown Police Department, members of the William Henry Alumni Association, and the keynote speaker, Louis L. Redding’s daughter, J.B. Redding.
The Appoquinimink School District was founded in 1969, around the same time that schools in Delaware were being desegregated during the Civil Rights Movement in America. But before that happened, in the first half of the 20th century when black and white students were still being educated separately, independently-operated schools worked to provide a quality education to children of color. In Middletown, the Louis L. Redding High School – home to today’s Louis L. Redding Middle School – fulfilled that mission.
Louis L. Redding Comprehensive High School was constructed to replace the smaller Middletown School 120-C and was named in honor of one of Delaware’s pioneering civil rights leaders, the lawyer Louis Lorenzo Redding (1901-1998). He was not only the first African-American admitted to the Delaware bar, he was an important part of the legal team that successfully challenged school segregation in the statute-setting Brown v. Board of Education case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
At the historic marker dedication ceremony, Redding Alumni Association President Franklin S. Chandler Sr. and Vice President Barbara Mitchell Williams thanked everyone who assisted with the project including Sen. Bruce Ennis, Sen. Stephanie Hansen, J.B. Redding, Appoquinimink Superintendent Matt Burrows, Redding Middle School Principal Ed Small and Katie Hall from the Delaware Public Archives Historical Markers Program.
Along with Chandler and Williams, the Redding Alumni Association Executive Leadership Team includes Secretary Janice Henry, Treasurer Cynthia Rowell, Chaplain Edna Cale, Immediate Past-President Robert Collins. Redding At-Large Ambassadors include William Saunders, Elzie Jefferson, John Conaway, Judy Black and Dorothy Taylor.