bensonschoolThis fall, the Center celebrates the 65th anniversary of the Florence C. Benson Elementary School , which opened its doors to 270 African-American students in the underserved Wheeler Hill community in 1954. Originally called the Wheeler Hill Elementary School for Negroes, the school was renamed the Florence C. Benson Elementary School in honor of the beloved teacher who served at Benson and other African-American schools for 38 years before her death in 1956. The National Register of Historic Places added the Benson School to its official list in 2009.

In 1996, the Center moved into the historic school building, which the University had purchased in 1978 after declining enrollment forced the school to close. Many see the move as fitting because the Center, like the Benson School before her, works toward the goal of serving the children and families of the community. The Center is proud to carry on the legacy of the Benson School while calling that same school “home.”