New Lincoln School and Lincoln Homes

Posted in Exhibits, Past Exhibits

New Lincoln School

New Lincoln School

February 1, 2013 – May 25, 2013

Second Floor Gallery

Lecture with Elizabeth Lacy
March 10, 2013 ~ 2 pm

The exhibit, curated by Elizabeth Carter Lacy, examines the relationship between the New Lincoln School under segregation and after and Trenton’s black community between the years of 1924 and 1946.

Located on North Montgomery Street, the New Lincoln School opened in 1924 as a segregated school for Trenton’s “Negro” students. Containing both elementary and junior high schools, it consolidated students from several other schools in the city where African-American children were educated.

Many graduates of New Lincoln School went on to distinguished careers in fields such as education, law, public service, medicine, sports and the fine and performing arts. Many more became the firsts to hold Municipal, County, and State jobs that were once not open to African-Americans. In later years, a few held significant positions in Trenton’s private businesses.

In 1946, as a result of the Hedgepeth-Williams lawsuit, Trenton’s schools were desegregated.  Mr. Patton J. Hill, the African-American principal of New Lincoln School from 1933 – 1958, continued as principal in the newly desegregated school until his retirement.  After desegregation, the junior high school was renamed Junior High School No. 5 and is now known as the Rivera School.  The exhibit will cover the period from the opening of the New Lincoln School in 1924 until the end of segregation in 1946.

The exhibit will address why there was a need for a state-of-the-art school to replace substandard schools serving African-Americans. It will also highlight the teachers, principals, curriculum, sports and health services of the new school, photos of graduation classes, leaders of various professions who visited the school, and achievements of alumni.

Lincoln Homes was a housing project built for working low-income black Trentonians in 1940. It was one of two built in Trenton that year; the other, Donnelly Homes, being built for working low-income white residents.  Lincoln Homes was built on Old Rose Street, across the playground from New Lincoln School.  The exhibit will include the early years of the 118 families chosen to live in the Lincoln Homes from 1940 – 1955.

The exhibit will also focus on the important relationship among the school, the black family, the black church, and the black community.  It will highlight the role of the Reverend John A. White of Shiloh Baptist Church, 1904 – 1946, a quiet strength working through various organizations to link the races in Trenton for the good of all.

The exhibit has been guest curated by Elizabeth Carter Lacy, founder of the Bettwansuela Museum Collection. Mrs. Lacy is an alumnus of New Lincoln School and long-time teacher in the Trenton Public School system.  She graduated from Cheyney State Teacher’s College (now Cheyney University) with a Bachelor’s degree in education, and received the Reading Teacher’s certification from Trenton State Teachers College (now The College of New Jersey).  She has received many honors from Cheyney University and from civic and educational organizations including the NAACP.  She is also founder and curator of the Geraldine Carter-Bethel Library Museum at Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton.

Once a student at New Lincoln School, Mrs. Lacy returned in 1958 as a teacher and taught with teachers who once taught her, giving her the opportunity to experience the culture of the school in a broader perspective.


On Sunday, March 10, 2013, at 2 pm, Mrs. Lacy will give a guided tour of the exhibit followed by an oral history-based intergenerational learning experience.  Teens of Shiloh Baptist Church and students from The College of New Jersey will interview some of the surviving African-American graduates of New Lincoln School and seniors who were raised in the Lincoln Homes through 1955.