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First State takes a different approach to Delaware Day

State of Delaware

Delaware Day 2020 will feature the stories of enslaved Delawareans, and those who helped break the bonds of slavery through a series of videos.

Delaware Day usually focuses on the five signers of the Constitution from Delaware, Richard Bassett, Gunning Bedford Jr., Jacob Broom, John Dickinson, and George Read.

This year, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be spotlighting the lives of five others through videos on its webpage, with one story featuring all of the videos on December 7 at 3 p.m.

The videos will feature Dinah, an indentured servant to Dickinson who raised a family, James Summers, a slave who earned his freedom then bought the freedom of his children, Warner Mifflin an anti-slavery lobbyist, Richard Allen who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and an unnamed Black male, who was one of the first of African origin to live in Delaware.

Tim Slavin is the director of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, and he explains why they are going this route this year.

"We thought it was time to listen. People want to hear more and better stories about Delaware history so we selected out the people who were contemporaries to the ratifiers of the Constitution who contributed to Delaware's history whether through their work or the lives they led," said Slavin. "It's really a compelling look at a different view of Delaware history."

Slavin adds it’s important to share their stories.

"What my colleagues set out to do, and I think they've done very successfully and it's a real gift to the people of Delaware their work is that they haven't shrunk from telling the stories of pain and struggle so that they can be examples of triumph and freedom. And we won't shrink from the telling of difficult history in the work that we do."

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.