Chapter: Black Americans in Delaware from 1639 to the Present: An Overview

Author: James E. Newton

Time Line: Match the year the event took place. Write the letter next to the year in the space below.

A. 1639
B. 1787
C. 1798
D. 1862
E. 1875
F. 1915
G. 1948
H. 1954
I. 1968
J. 1993

_____ 1. Wilmington riots
_____ 2. Delaware ratifies the U.S. Constitution
_____ 3. First NAACP chapter organized in Wilmington
_____ 4. Quakers open a school for blacks
_____ 5. University of Delaware opens its doors to the first black student
_____ 6. Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Decision
_____ 7. "Black Anthony" delivered to Fort Christina
_____ 8. James Sills elected first black mayor of Wilmington
_____ 9. Blacks accepted into the Union Army
_____10. Congress passes Civil Rights Act, Delaware passes Jim Crow law

Critical Thinking: Write a brief essay on one of the following:

1. Summarize what is said in this article about the treatment of slaves in Delaware. What conclusion do you reach from it?

2. Why was it difficult for free blacks to fight for the Union Army in the Civil War?

3. Why did independent black churches develop in Delaware?

Matching: Match the letter below to the appropriate person.

A. Teacher and Journalist

B. Librarian for Howard High School

C. First black elected to Wilmington City Council

D. Delaware slaveholder who freed his slaves

E. Wilmington businessman and abolitionist

_____ 1. John Dickinson
_____ 2. Alice Dunbar Nelson
_____ 3. Thomas Garrett
_____ 4. Thomas Postles
_____ 5. Pauline Young

Key Terms, Concepts, and Events

Define the following:

Time Chart: Overview


1639: "Black Anthony" delivered to Fort Christina

1700: Trial of Negroes act

1760: Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is born

1773: 20 pound penalty assessed for bringing slaves to lower counties

1775: Delaware Quakers begin freeing their slaves

1784: Caesar Rodney dies and frees slaves

1787: Delaware ratifies U.S. Constitution

1787: Independent Free African Society formed by Richard Allen and Absalom Jones

1788: Delaware Society for Promoting the Gradual Abolition of Slavery formed

1798: Quakers open a school for blacks

1803: A Bill in the General Assembly to abolish slavery fails by one vote

1805: Ezion Methodist Episcopal Church founded, first black church in Delaware

1814: Reverend Spencer begins Big Quarterly

1817: Richard Allen elected first AME bishop

1821: Harriet Tubman is born

1827: Wilmington Union Colonization Society formed

1831: Nat Turner Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia

1831: Wilmington blacks protest colonization at a meeting

1850: Passage of the Fugitive Slave Law

1858: Thomas Garrett claims in a letter to have aided 2,152 slaves to escape

1860: Census reveals 1,798 slaves in Delaware

1862: Blacks accepted into the Union Army

1863: Emancipation Proclamation--January 1

1865: Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery in Maryland and Delaware

1866: Delaware legislature passed resolution that blacks were not political or social equals

1875: Congress passes Civil Rights Act, Delaware passes Jim Crow law

1880: U.S. Supreme Court rules blacks in Delaware must serve on juries

1891: Founding of Delaware State College (University)

1901: Thomas Postles becomes the first black member of Wilmington City Council

1903: George White, a black man, lynched

1915: Chapter of NAACP organized in Wilmington

1942: First basketball game played between a black and a white school

1945: William Winchester first black elected to state legislature

1947: Pauline Young writes a history of blacks in Delaware

1948: University of Delaware opens its doors to first black student

1950: Louis L. Redding files suit on behalf of two black school children

1951: Delaware National Guard integrated

1951: Delaware YMCA integrated

1952: Paul Livingstone is the second black elected to state legislature

1954: U.S. Supreme Court decides Brown v. Board, including two Delaware cases

1968: Wilmington riots

1993: James Sills elected first black mayor of Wilmington

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Copyright University of Delaware 1997
Last Updated: July 9, 1997