The Delaware County Historical Society
The story of a courageous and ambitious young African American man born in 1871 and raised in Delaware Ohio. At the young age of 17, he started a school that was called “The Place of Knowledge for Old and Young”.
That man is Elmer Washington Bryant Curry and his school was The Curry School.

The Shed Kitchen School - The Curry School - Delaware County Historical Society - Delaware Ohio
The Curry School – The Shed Kitchen School 1889 Delaware Ohio

April 18st Thursday

Starting at 7pm

About the Program

The virtually untold story of a local African-American man, born in a log house of the City of Delaware just after the Civil War. Elmer Curry completed his education in Delaware, showing an amazing vision and aptitude for educating others of his race. He dedicated his life to preparing African Americans with both an academic education and a practical trade as a way to both improve his students’ lives but also to “uplift” African Americans in society, as a path to greater equality with white Americans. You will about the larger context of the world of African-Americans in Ohio in the late 19th/ early 20th Century.  For example, having been born in 1871, he grew up in a very different world than did his parents: He knew he would be able to vote. He saw the state-wide integration of the public schools, the passage of a significant civil rights bill, and the passage of the Nation’s first anti-lynching laws. 

The Curry School story was important then

Achieving racial equality is a constant theme in the history of the US.  Curry lived in a world that had just come out of a Civil War. That war not only ended slavery with the 13th Amendment but also placed two other powerful Amendments into the U.S. Constitution—the  14th and 15th Amendments.  Those Amendments applied to African-Americans in Northern states as well as Southern states.  The story of Curry and The Curry School illustrates activist African Americans in Ohio using those Amendments to improve the lives of all of Ohio’s African-Americans—at least for a period of time.

Curry’s life story is relevant to our world today

Unfortunately even in the 21st Century we still need to be aware of racial inequities. Fortunately, we have examples of E.W. B. Curry, and others like him such as  George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington, to show how much difference one person can make in the lives of others. They remind us of past successes in the effort to create a nation that prides itself on innovation and progress, no matter your racial background. 

The Curry School - Prof E W B Curry - Delaware County Historical Society - Delaware Ohio

“It came to me that the youth must be trained to work. They should know honest toil is an expression of noble manhood and the task cannot disgrace; but the one who slights the common duties of every-day life is a disgrace to themselves and whatever race they represent.” – E.W.B. Curry

Come learn why this man should be considered one of the “Favorite Sons” of Delaware Ohio.

Reserve Your Seats

The program is free and open to the public. There will be an opportunity to make a donation, which will help defray the expenses.

To ensure adequate seating, registration and reserved seats are advised for this program

or Call DCHS at 740-369-3831, ext. 3.

This Program will be held at:

The Barn at Stratford - Event Venue - Barn Weddings - Delaware Ohio

The Barn at Stratford
our 1840s Barn Event Venue
2690 Stratford Road, Delaware, OH 43015 Map

About the Presenters

Benny Shoults - Presenter - The Curry School - Delaware County Historical Society - Delaware Ohio

Benny Shoults is curator of the Meeker Homestead Museum and chair of the Museum and Exhibits committee. Benny has created many Delaware History Exhibits, including the Hair Studio Window exhibits. He has been key on many Delaware History tours including the East Winter Street Then and Now Tour. Benny owns Frame Artistry in Delaware Ohio.

Barbara Tierzian - OWU History Professor - The Curry School

Barbara Terzian, Associate Professor of History at Ohio Wesleyan University, is a specialist in U.S. legal and women’s history. She teaches courses in U.S. history from the colonial period through the Civil War. Her research focuses on Ohio’s constitutional history in the 19th century, particularly as it affected African-Americans and women.

Terzian, an experienced civil rights attorney, also serves as one of Ohio Wesleyan’s pre-law faculty advisors. She won an ACLU Award for Civil Rights work in 1996. Terzian’s publications include “Ohio’s Constitutions: An Historical Perspective” in the Cleveland State Law Review.

For more information, please call the society at 740-369-3831, ext. 3., or email .

About The Delaware County Historical Society

The Delaware County Historical Society is a nonprofit institution. Our mission is to promote and sustain interest in the history of Delaware County, Ohio through historical preservation and education.

History Library - Delaware County Historical Society - Delaware Ohio


157 East William Street, Delaware


2690 Stratford Road, Delaware