On Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020 at 2 p.m., the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., will host “Black Footprints on White Sands: Historic African American Beaches and Resorts,” a presentation by Chase Jackson, program and grants manager at New Jersey’s Bayshore Center at Bivalve. The program will take place on the Zwaanendael Museum’s 2nd floor (entry via staircase; no elevator) and is free and open to the public. However, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling the museum at 302-645-1148 no later than Jan. 17, 2020.
Held in celebration of the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, Jackson’s presentation will explore beaches and resorts that African Americans could visit without fear of discrimination or violence during the segregation era. One such destination in Delaware was the Rosedale Beach Hotel and Resort in Millsboro which was run by, and for, people of color. During its heyday, the resort presented some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century including Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, among many others.
Chase Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina which she parlayed into a 30-plus-year career in non-profit administration. She is also an accomplished storyteller, producer, director, actor and blues vocalist. In addition to managing its office, she handles all of the Bayshore Center’s publicity, promotion and special event/program coordination.
The Zwaanendael Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from Nov. 1 to March 31; and Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., from April 1 to Oct. 31. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.
Administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the museum was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the state’s first European colony, Swanendael, established by the Dutch along Hoorn Kill (present-day Lewes-Rehoboth Canal) in 1631. Designed by E. William Martin (architect of Legislative Hall and the Hall of Records in Dover), it is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and features a stepped facade gable with carved stonework and decorated shutters.
Museum exhibits and presentations provide a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military and social history. Current exhibits include “Delaware Railroads: Elegant Travel and Timely Transport” which explores the history of rail travel and transport in the First State; and “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” which tells the story of His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798.