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Arts Playlist: Hara Wright-Smith’s ‘African Americans of Wilmington’s East Side’

A new book published last month dives into the history of Wilmington’s East Side,

In this week’s Arts Playlist, Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele talks to Hana Wright-Smith about African Americans of Wilmington’s East Side.

Delaware Public Media's Kelli Steele interviews Wilmington author Hara Wright-Smith

A Delaware author’s first book focuses on Wilmington’s East Side.

African Americans of Wilmington’s East Side comes from the Wilmington Alliance’s new director of economic development and inclusion - Hara Wright-Smith.

Wright-Smith explains why she chose to delve into the East Side’s history, “There’s a lot of stories to tell about the identity of the community. We see the East Side community the way it is today - right? But there is another part of that story - an African American story - that I thought was not quite told in this way. And so I think the East Side represents a significant contribution to a larger American story.”

Wright-Smith says Wilmington’s East Side was also the topic of her doctoral dissertation, helping spark her interest in writing this book that examines the neighborhood from the early 1900s to the 1960s.

“I chose to study the contributions of neighborhood revitalization that African American churches provided to the East Side community,” Wright-Smith said.   

Wright-Smith adds she wanted to share what she’s learned about the East Side with a wider audience in her first book.

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.

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