‘The Kidnapping of Bathsheba Bungy’ program on March 18, 2023

In celebration of National Women’s History Month, historical interpreter Valarie Petty Boyer, Ph.D. will utilize monologue and song to tell the true story of Bathsheba Bungy, an African American girl from New Castle, Del. who was kidnapped by two white men in 1830 and taken to Maryland to be sold into slavery. The program explores Bungy’s ordeal and escape, and the actual trial of her kidnappers which was held in the New Castle Court House — the very location where Boyer’s performance will be held.

Photo of Valarie Petty Boyer Ph.D.
Valarie Petty Boyer Ph.D. will tell the story of Bathsheba Bungy at the New Castle Court House Museum on March 18, 2023.

“The Kidnapping of Bathsheba Bungy” will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del. Admission is free and open to the public but, due to space restrictions, reservations are suggested by calling 302-323-4453 or mailto:NCCHmuseum@delaware.gov.

Valarie Petty Boyer holds a doctorate in education from Walden University; and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education—both from the University of Delaware. A resident of Dover, Del., she teaches sociology, human development and general psychology at Delaware Technical and Community College.

As a historical interpreter, Boyer writes and performs her own programs which often feature her singing Negro spirituals. In addition to Bathsheba Bungy, she has portrayed antislavery activist Charlotte Forten Grimke; Nannie Goode who taught at the Iron Hill Colored School in Newark, Del. in the 1920s; and escaped slave Susan Petty, a fictional character created by Boyer and named for her grandmother.

Photo of the New Castle Court House Museum
New Castle Court House Museum

Built in 1732, the New Castle Court House is one of the oldest active courthouses in the United States and was Delaware’s first state capitol. Here in 1776, New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties declared their independence from Pennsylvania and England creating the Delaware State. During its nearly 300 years of history, this National Historic Landmark has played many pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.

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