NOTE: THIS EXHIBIT IS NOW CLOSED-FOR REFERENCE ONLY.
The Delaware Historical Society recognizes Black History Month with a new exhibit featuring rare published and manuscript materials that tell the stories of the challenging and difficult lives of early black Delawareans: slavery, the fight for freedom, and the development of African American community life in Delaware. This exhibit will be on display in the Societyís Willingtown Square Gallery at 505 Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware.
During the 1700ís, most black Delawareans were enslaved, but beginning in the late 1700ís, the number of enslaved blacks declined and the number of free blacks grew. The newly freed people faced the challenges of strengthening their families, earning a living, and developing community life. Law and custom insured that black Delawareans faced segregation and discrimination.
Slavery took a toll on family life because enslaved people could not legally marry nor did they have last names that were legally recognized. Whites valued slaves primarily as workers and property, not as people who had family relationships. That is why an 1857 listing of the slaves of Richard Mason of Long Neck displayed in the exhibit is such a treasure. It gives the names and ages of all the enslaved people and tells the relationships among many of them. However, no one has a last name, nor are any of the fathers of the children named.
This exhibit closed April 25, 2008.
© 2008 Delaware Historical Society
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