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Legacy mural in West Rehoboth celebrates iconic Black community

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A new mural in West Rehoboth celebrates an iconic Black community.

The new mural honoring the historic Black community of West Rehoboth was recently unveiled on Malloy Street.

The West Rehoboth Legacy Mural is the work of West Rehoboth native Terrance Vann, a prominent mural artist.

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Developing Artist Collaboration
Mural Artist Terrance Vann

The project was led by the nonprofit Developing Artist Collaboration, whose founder Leah Beach says it wants to preserve the history of the area.

“Back in the early 1900’s, there were founding families that were sold plots of land for $100 back here (in West Rehoboth) so that they could easily access downtown Rehoboth to work," Beach said. "And actually West Rehoboth was a thriving community of color - there were Black-owned businesses and all of the land owners back here were Black.”

Beach says the mural idea was prompted by a 2019 exhibit of photos and artifacts at the Rehoboth Museum that Terrance and his father - historian Antoine Vann - created to share their family’s history of the resort.

Beach says she wanted to do a mural that honored West Rehoboth’s history and boosts the community.

“This was a community that was really thriving. They actually were in the “Green Book,” which is really incredible,'" she said. "And in the 1980’s/1990’s this community became infiltrated with drugs and crime just like everyone else. And like many communities that were affected by that epidemic, no face gentrification.” 

QR codes will be mounted on the wall this fall linking to videos of oral histories and historical facts about West Rehoboth Beach and the community that founded it.

The mural was funded in part by a $25,000 BIPOC Leaders and Communities grant from the Delaware Community Foundation.

“We have a relatively new grant program where we’re trying to lift up organizations that serve Black and Brown communities and help them achieve their missions, because sometimes it’s particularly hard to get that going,” said DCF’s president and CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.