First State Heritage Park in Dover will explore “African-Americans from Delaware in Times of War” on Feb. 3, as a part of the American Association for State and Local History annual theme.
The theme was selected to commemorate the centennial of the end of World War I in 1918.
Visitors to the Kent County Courthouse, 414 Federal St., from 1:30 to 4 p.m., will be able to “follow in the footsteps” of African-Americans from Delaware as they made decisions at home and abroad during the war “to make the world safe for democracy” with a series of crossroads and activities demonstrating the challenges and opportunities that arose during that tumultuous time.
To explore the years preceding and into the American Civil War, the programs at The Old State House, 25 The Green, the Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal St., and the John Bell House, 43 The Green, will examine the Underground Railroad and the U.S. Colored Troops.
At 11 a.m. at The Old State House, the program will explore and celebrate its status as a site on the National Park Services’ “Network to Freedom” and its connection to Samuel Burris. The Biggs Museum’s Biggs Kids program will celebrate the courage and creativity while allowing people to add their own square to a freedom quilt. At the John Bell House, the First State Club of middle school students from Campus Community have researched African-Americans who served during the Civil War to present an interactive timeline and object stories, connecting ordinary things to stories from the United States Colored Troops.
Leaving from the John Bell House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the “Tales of Slavery & Freedom Walking Tour” will explore The Green as a place where free and enslaved men and women lived out their daily lives. Visitors will hear about a daring escape from the Dover Jail, make connections with Bishop Richard Allen and learn of Dover’s complicated position regarding freedom and slavery.
Bringing the theme to more modern times, the Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., will present a program about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. The Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., will begin a four-part Saturday series on the evolution of black recorded music; “The Roots” will start with spirituals and pre-jazz artists that laid the foundation. At Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave., guided tours will honor the life of Herman Holloway with “Dean of Black Politicians,” who served during the 1960s. This program will incorporate his portrait, hanging prominently, as well as images from his civil rights work.
Other activities will be taking place throughout the day. The Biggs Museum of American Art will have their featured Biggs Kids program. Guided tours of the following sites will be available at select times: Legislative Hall; The Old State House; Woodburn — The Governor’s House, 151 Kings Highway E; and Kent County Courthouse Courtroom 1, 414 Federal St.
Admission to park sites and programs is free.
For more, call 739-9194 or visit destateparks.com/heritagepark.