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We Celebrate Black History Month 2021

Daily posts in celebration of Black History Month as Colonial Nation recognizes the contributions of African Americans from our district, state, and country.

 

WE Celebrate – Stephanie Ingram

WE Celebrate – Stephanie Ingram

Stephanie Ingram, a 1990 graduate of William Penn High School, is the first African American woman to serve as  President of the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA). The DSEA represents more than 13,000 teachers,  paraprofessionals, specialists, nurses,...

WE Celebrate – Mary Ann Shadd Cary

Abolitionist Mary Ann Shadd Cary became the first female African American newspaper editor in North America when she started the Black newspaper The Provincial Freemen. Later in life, she became the second African American woman in the United States to earn a law...

WE Celebrate – Bob Marley

Ya Man! Reggae Singer Bob Marley  once lived in Wilmington with his mother on  Tatnall Street who ran the “Roots” Jamaican music shop on Market Street. Today, a park at 24th and Tatnall is called “One Love Park” in his honor.  Outside of Jamaica, Wilmington is said to...

We Celebrate: Jim Sills

We Celebrate: Jim Sills

Jim Sills became the first African American to serve as Mayor for the city of Wilmington in 1992. Prior to that, Sills taught at the University of Delaware from 1972 to 1977. He was founding director of the Urban Agent Program and in 1987 he founded the Delaware...

WE Celebrate: Delaware City’s African American Police Chiefs

WE Celebrate: Delaware City’s African American Police Chiefs

Charles “Chuck” Griffin was Delaware’s first Black police Chief.  In 1971 he was hired to lead the police force in Delaware City. At the time, the position was part-time, 8 p.m.-4 a.m. weekdays and 4 p.m. to midnight on weekends. News accounts show he put in 40-50...

WE Honor – Lisa Blunt Rochester

WE Honor – Lisa Blunt Rochester

In 2016 Lisa Blunt Rochester made history when she became the first person of color to represent Delaware in Congress. She began her professional career as a problem-solver and an advocate. A caseworker for then-Congressman Tom Carper, Lisa helped people during...

Interracial Marriage in the United states

Interracial Marriage in the United states

Valentine’s Day is all about love but did you know interracial marriages were once illegal and the 2016 movie “Loving” was based on a true story? During the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, the growing number of interracial marriages (also known as...

WE Celebrate: Delaware’s First Black Attorney

WE Celebrate: Delaware’s First Black Attorney

In 1929, Louis L. Redding became the first Black lawyer in Delaware.  He was a respected civil rights pioneer for Delaware and America. In 1950, Redding compiled a case against the University of Delaware, which barred Black students. But the university's chancellor,...

We Celebrate: Peter Spencer

We Celebrate: Peter Spencer

(1782–1843) Spencer was an American freedman who in 1813 founded the Union Church of Africans in Wilmington, Delaware. The denomination is now known as the African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church and Connection, or A.U.M.P. Church for short. Born into...

WE Discuss: Segregated Schools- a Former Lawmaker’s Perspective

WE Discuss: Segregated Schools- a Former Lawmaker’s Perspective

J.J Johnson has lived in the Colonial School district for more than 40 years and spent 14 of those years as a State Representative in the Delaware General Assembly.  Johnson took a keen interest in the education of Colonial school children, in part because of his own...

WE Celebrate – David May

WE Celebrate – David May

David LaFrance May Sr. was born in New Castle, Delaware on December 23, 1943, and was raised in Old New Castle. May excelled in sports at an early age and became a standout athlete while a student at William Penn High School (WPHS). May played baseball, football, and...

WE Celebrate: Jane Mitchell 

WE Celebrate: Jane Mitchell 

Jane Mitchell, a resident of Delaware City, was the first African-American to work as a registered nurse in a Delaware hospital. After breaking that color line in 1948 at the Gov. Bacon Health Clinic in Delaware City, Mitchell worked at the Delaware Psychiatric...

WE Celebrate – Littleton Mitchell

WE Celebrate – Littleton Mitchell

Littleton Mitchell of Delaware City was a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. He was best known as the 30-year outspoken president of the state NAACP (1961-1991) and he established a reputation as a ferocious fighter for civil rights in Delaware,...

Delaware City’s African American Police Chiefs

Delaware City’s African American Police Chiefs

Charles “Chuck” Griffin was Delaware’s first Black police Chief.  In 1971 he was hired to lead the police force in Delaware City. At the time, the position was part-time, 8 p.m.-4 a.m. weekdays and 4 p.m. to midnight on weekends. News accounts show he put in 40-50...

We Celebrate – Tony Allen

We Celebrate – Tony Allen

Tony Allen, a graduate of William Penn High School, is presently the President of Delaware State University. Allen, a former speechwriter for President Joe Biden, also served as head of the Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Committee.   In other positions of leadership,...

WE Honor: The Buttonwood Colored School

WE Honor: The Buttonwood Colored School

Located off of Route 9 on Buttonwood Avenue in New Castle, the Buttonwood Colored School first opened in 1919 during the nation’s period of segregation to serve the needs of “colored” students growing up in the historically Black suburban neighborhood. The...

WE Celebrate: Polktown

WE Celebrate: Polktown

This African American community was located in Delaware City near the foot of the Reedy Point Bridge. Polktown was one of the earliest free black settlements in Delaware. It included a church, school, and many residences. Polktown land ownership was controlled by...

We Honor: African Union Church Cemetery

We Honor: African Union Church Cemetery

Located in Delaware City along the Mike Castle Trail, a half-acre of land was purchased by five trustees of the African Union Church in 1835 for $80 where a church, now razed, was built with only the cemetery remaining. The church and cemetery served residents of...

We Celebrate – Eugene Petty

We Celebrate – Eugene Petty

Eugene Petty, a resident of Buttonwood,  became the first African American Police Chief for the city of New Castle in 1975. In 1963 Petty began his career with the city as a part-time officer with the New Castle City Police (NCCPD), becoming a full-time officer in...

WE Celebrate: Dusty Blakey

WE Celebrate: Dusty Blakey

WE Celebrate: Dusty Blakey Dusty Blakey, Ed.D.,  became the first African American Superintendent of the Colonial School District on June 26, 2014. Prior to his appointment as Superintendent, Dr. Blakey served as a Director of Schools for Colonial. His other...