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African American History Month programs spotlighted during February 2020


During the month of February 2020, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be offering 14 special events at sites across the state. Eight of these events will be presented in commemoration of African American History Month, an annual observance celebrating the invaluable contributions that the Black community has made to the culture and history of the United States. A full schedule is included below. Except where noted, all programs are free and open to the public.

Photo of Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells will be one of the leaders explored in the program, “The Women’s Suffrage Movement: Below the Color-Line,” at The Old State House on Feb. 22, 2020.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs special events, February 2020

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020
“Lost By One Vote.” Inter-active historical theater presentation that features the pros and cons of Lincoln’s Compensated Emancipation Plan of 1862 that would have abolished slavery in Delaware and the nation. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. First Saturday in the First State program. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054. 

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020
“The Big Bang.”
Screening and discussion of episode one of the three-part PBS documentary “American Epic” which explores how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Screenings at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262. 

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020
“The Summers Family: A Generational Story.” African American History Month guided tours explore the true story of the manumission (granting of freedom) of two slave children—Ruth and Thomas Summers—which took place in 1797 in the Kent County Recorder of Deeds office, located in what is now called The Old State House. The children were manumitted by their own father, James Summers, a free African American, who had obtained them from their former owner. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054. 

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020
“Blood and Soil.” Screening and discussion of episode two of the three-part PBS documentary “American Epic” which explores how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Screenings at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262. 

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020
Demonstrations by the Thistledown Fiber Arts Guild. Program explores spinning, weaving, knitting and other fabric arts. John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Program 1–3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3277. 

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020
“With Malice Toward None: Abraham Lincoln in Words and Pictures.” Historian Dan Pritchett will discuss Lincoln’s love of language and his ability to use words to influence and inspire people and to transform the nation. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 6 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-744-5054. 

Friday, Feb. 14, 2020
Concert by Ronn McFarlane. Lute player presented in partnership with the Delaware Friends of Folk and the First State Heritage Park. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. 7:30 p.m. 302-744-5054. 

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020
“African Americans on the Eastern Shore.” Lecture by Jim Blackwell of the Seaford Museum exploring Eastern Shore history, slavery, the Ross family and Harriet Tubman. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. Lewes Public Library, 111 Adams Ave., Lewes. 2 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Feb. 14, 2020. Note: Due to overwhelming demand, the venue for this program has been changed from the Zwaanendael Museum to the Lewes Public Library.

Photo of Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman will be one of the subjects explored in the program, “African Americans on the Eastern Shore,” at the Lewes Public Library on Feb. 25, 2020.

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020
“Out of the Many, the One.” Screening and discussion of the final episode of the three-part PBS documentary “American Epic” which explores how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time. Presented in celebration of African American History Month. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Screenings at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262. 

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020
The African American Experience in Delaware.” Historic-site interpreter Dennis Fisher explores Delaware’s rich African American culture, history and legacy from the 18th to the 20th century. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054. 

Monday, Feb. 17, 2020
Presidents Day. The following museums of the State of Delaware will be open: The Johnson Victrola Museum and The Old State House, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The following museums will be closed: The John Dickinson Plantation, the New Castle Court House Museum and the Zwaanendael Museum. 302-744-5054.  

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020
“Revisiting the Founding Era.” Presentation by Bob Vander Decker, historical interpreter for the New Castle Court House Museum and Boy Scouts of America district leader. Presented in partnership with the New Castle Public Library. Boy Scouts can earn requirements for several scout-related merit badges by attending the program. Girl Scouts and all interested youths (ages 12-18) are also welcome. New Castle Public Library, 424 Delaware St., New Castle. Program 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by a tour of the New Castle Court House Museum at 1:30 p.m. Lunch provided. Free admission but registration required by calling the library at 302-328-1995 or the museum at 302-323-4453.  

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020
“The Women’s Suffrage Movement: Below the Color-Line.” African American History Month program by historian Syl Woolford explores the struggle for women to gain the right to vote and the role played by Black women in the movement. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 1 p.m. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-744-5054. 

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020
“Coffee, Cross Stitch and Conversation.” Stitch-along program with guidance from museum historical interpreter and cross stitcher Madeline Golden. One of two original patterns featuring the Zwaanendael Museum will be available for participants as they enjoy refreshments and conversation while working on their chosen design. Appropriate for both beginners and advanced cross stitchers. Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. Program at 2 p.m. on the museum’s 2nd floor (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Admission fee of $10 includes materials for visitors to create their own cross stitch. Due to space restrictions, reservations for the workshop are required by calling 302-645-1148 no later than Feb. 15, 2020. 

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020
“George Washington’s Unique Skill in Picking Top Talent.”
Presentation by Dr. Sam Hoff of Delaware State University and museum historical interpreter Tom Welch on the men that Washington chose to serve in the military, in his spy networks, in his Cabinet and on the Supreme Court. The Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover. Program at 2 p.m. Museum open 1:30–4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are suggested by calling 302-744-5054.


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