Many pivotal events in history occurred in Wilmington, Delaware, and local history enthusiasts make sure they won’t be forgotten. Whether you are a local or visiting from out of town, these four historic sites and exhibitions should be on your “to do” list!
#1 Friends Meeting House on Quaker Hill
The Underground Railroad stands as a powerful symbol of hope, courage, and resilience in the face of oppression. This network of secret routes and safe houses played a crucial role in helping enslaved African Americans escape to freedom during the 19th century. I recently had the incredible opportunity to visit the Friends Meeting House on Quaker Hill, and the experience left a profound impact on me. The site is well-preserved and served as a crucial link in the Underground Railroad network, providing shelter and support to freedom-seekers during one of the darkest chapters in American history. The walking tour introduces the undeniable courage and resilience of those who fought for freedom, often at great personal risk. This journey to the past serves as a reminder of the injustices of slavery and the enduring human spirit that persevered through it. As I left, I couldn't help but reflect on the enduring legacy of those who had passed through these safe spaces and hidden paths in search of liberty. Their stories inspire us to stand up against oppression, to support the quest for equality, and to never forget the lessons of history. This Wilmington jewel is a history lover’s dream.
#2 Hockessin Colored School #107C
This historic colored school, now preserved as a museum/community center, was built in 1920. It stands as a testament to the determination and courage of African American communities during a time of racial segregation. The school served as a place of learning and empowerment for generations of black children who were denied equal educational opportunities. Education has always been a powerful tool for social change, and this historic colored school was a living testament to that fact. It was a place where dreams were nurtured, talents were discovered, and aspirations were set in motion. Despite the challenges, the students who passed through its doors went on to make significant contributions to their community and the world at large. Today, the legacy of the historic colored school lives on in the achievements of its graduates and community devotees. Many former students went on to become doctors, lawyers, educators, and community leaders, breaking down barriers and working to create a more inclusive society. The school's impact extended far beyond its walls and is inspiring the present generation. During my visit to the newly renovated building, I met with Professor David Wilk, a finance professor with Fox Business School and chair of the Colored School, as well as site curator/researcher Lanette R. Edwards, EdD. As a collective, they provided me with a comprehensive understanding of how dynamic this community had been in the past and its current influence.
#3 Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park
Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park is in the heart of Wilmington, Delaware and is a powerful testament to the resolute spirit of the abolitionist movement that took place so many years ago along the Christina River. Named after two prominent fearless figures in American history, Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett, this park is more than just a picturesque riverside escape; it's a living tribute to those who dedicated their lives to the fight against enslavement. The park boasts a beautiful sculpture that displays the duo's teamwork and perseverance. It is an ideal place to take an evening stroll or lunch break while basking in the depiction of courage.
#4 Delaware History Museum and Mitchell Center for African American Heritage
Stepping into the Delaware History Museum and Mitchell Center for African American Heritage is like embarking on a captivating voyage through time. One of the highlights is the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage, an integral part of the museum that delves into the African American experience in Delaware. This center provides a central space for understanding the contributions, struggles and triumphs of the local African American community throughout history. Through powerful exhibits and thought-provoking displays, it shines a light on the often-untold stories of resilience and achievement. The museum does an amazing job of celebrating the city’s local history by honoring those who have contributed. These contributions span from musicians, civil rights advocates, abolitionists, and religious institutions. This museum oozes with education and is waiting to be explored.