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  Archived Posts From: 2014

Delaware State Historic Preservation Office recent accomplishments

Written on: March 28th, 2014 in ArchaeologyNewsPreservation

The Delaware State Historic Preservation Office has recently released a report on some of the most significant accomplishments that it has achieved during the past year. A unit of the state’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the office administers a broad range of federal and state programs that identify, register and help to preserve Delaware’s historic places and unique cultural identity.

Go to the following to read the report.

DE SHPO FY 2013 Accomplishments_cover with border


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Dover’s Old State House launches coffee-hour lecture series

Written on: March 19th, 2014 in EventsMuseumsNews

Beginning on April 3, 2014, The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del., will be offering a new series of history lectures that will be held during the time period just after people have left work for the day. Focusing on Delaware-history topics, the lectures will take place between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. on selected Thursdays in April, 2014.

Old State House History Coffee Hour Lecture Series poster compressed

A complete listing of Old State House History Coffee-Hour Lecture Series programs follows. Additional lectures will be scheduled based on public interest in the series. All programs are free and open to the public with complimentary coffee available for those in attendance. For additional information, call 302-744-5055.

Old State House History Coffee-Hour Lecture Series

Thursday, April 3, 2014
“A Spy and a Hero: Delaware’s Allen McLane.” Lecture by historic-site interpreter Tom Welch on Allen McLane of Smyrna, Del., a hero of the American Revolution, speaker of the state House of Representatives and delegate at Delaware’s Constitution Ratification Convention.

Thursday, April 10, 2014
“Last Call: The Early Temperance Movement in Delaware.” Lecture by Nancy Gardner on the movement which sought to reduce or prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
“Murder and Mayhem: The Borders of Delaware.” Lecture by Brian Cannon, lead historic-site interpreter at the New Castle Court House Museum, on Delaware’s unique arched boundary and the factors that created a lawless environment near the state’s ambiguous borders with Pennsylvania and Maryland.


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Harriet Tubman Day in Delaware proclaimed

Written on: March 10th, 2014 in News

Governor Jack Markell has issued a proclamation declaring March 10, 2014 as Harriet Tubman Day in Delaware in commemoration of the 101st anniversary of the death of the noted Underground Railroad conductor. The proclamation was delivered by Chief Deputy Secretary of State Rick Geisenberger in a March 6, 2014 ceremony at Dover’s Old State House.

Harriet Tubman (as portrayed by Delores Blakey) holding a copy of the Harriet Tubman Day proclamation. Behind her are (from left) Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Director Tim Slavin; the Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, pastor of Star Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dover; Ann Gravatt from the Delaware Department of Transportation; Chief Deputy Secretary of State Rick Geisenberger; and state Rep. Donald Blakey.

Harriet Tubman (as portrayed by Delores Blakey) holding a copy of the Harriet Tubman Day proclamation. Behind her are (from left) Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Director Tim Slavin; the Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, pastor of Star Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dover; Ann Gravatt from the Delaware Department of Transportation; Chief Deputy Secretary of State Rick Geisenberger; and state Rep. Donald Blakey.

Born a slave in 1820, Harriet Tubman is probably the most well-known figure on the Underground Railroad. She is credited with personally escorting over 300 slaves to freedom on more than 20 separate trips through Maryland and Delaware. These escapes included her own from a Dorchester County, Md. farm in 1849.

Tubman was an abolitionist, humanitarian and Union spy during the Civil War. Her 100 percent success rate in helping slaves escape to freedom made her a legend throughout the country. She is documented as traveling through Sussex and Kent counties in Delaware with the aid of local black families, and she frequently collaborated with noted abolitionist Thomas Garrett of Wilmington. Their role is featured prominently in the exhibit An Illegal Activity: The Underground Railroad in Delaware” which is currently on display at the First State Heritage Welcome Center and Galleries in Dover. After the war, Tubman settled in Auburn, N.Y. and died there on March 10, 1913. This date is now celebrated nationally as Harriet Tubman Day.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

In addition to comments by Geisenberger, the Harriet Tubman Day proclamation ceremony included an invocation by the Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, pastor of Star Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dover; reflections by state Rep. Donald Blakey; and comments by Ann Gravatt from the Delaware Department of Transportation who discussed the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a series of Delaware roads that follow routes Tubman utilized when leading slaves from captivity in Maryland, through Delaware, to relative freedom in Pennsylvania. The ceremony was hosted by Tim Slavin, director of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Highlights of the program included musical performances by the Interdenominational Chorus of Dover and by students from St. John’s Lutheran School; and a special appearance by Harriet Tubman (as portrayed by historical interpreter Delores Blakey) who received the proclamation certificate from Geisenberger.

In his comments, Geisenberger reflected on the words of the nation’s Pledge of Allegiance, noting that there was a time, not long ago, when “liberty and justice for all” was denied to Americans of African descent, and that the words of the pledge were only fully realized through the tireless efforts of heroes such as Harriet Tubman. Commenting on her 100 percent success rate as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Tubman (as portrayed by Blakey) noted, “I never had a train go off the track and I never lost a passenger.”


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