Calendar of Events





The Delaware Historical Society's Response to COVID-19

To limit the spread of coronavirus all Delaware Historical Society sites are temporarily closed. Please enjoy our virtual programs, which can be found below. We look forward to welcoming everyone back soon!





Friday July 3, 2020, 1-2 p.m. & 7-8 p.m.
The Mitchell Center for African American Heritage 4th of July Open Mic Night with Christian Wills



Join us on Facebook Live as we welcome Christian Wills as our host for Open Mic! In recognition of the Fourth of July, this open mic will feature a line-up of local artists who will explore the question “What does the Fourth of July mean to you?”. The afternoon open mic will feature artists describing what the holiday has meant historically. The evening open mic will feature artists describing what the holiday means to them in the present.


This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



Thursday, July 9, 2020, 6 p.m.
History is Happening Now!


Registration via ZOOM is required

Have you heard about DHS’ COVID Chronicles Delaware?
CCDE is the rapid response collecting of Delawareans’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wonder why collecting during the pandemic matters?
Join DHS Head Curator Leigh Rifenburg and University of Delaware professor Dael Norwood to learn more about the COVID Chronicles Delaware project and how future historians and researchers can utilize a collection like CCDE in their research, teaching, and helping people make connections to the past.

COVID Chronicles Delaware asks Delawareans to reflect on their experiences living through the COVID-19 pandemic and capture them through writing, art, image, or song. Submissions to CCDE will become part of the permanent DHS digital collection to serve individually and collectively as primary sources for future generations.

Leigh Rifenburg has served as Chief Curator for the Delaware Historical Society since 2017 and has a background in academic librarianship and archival collections care and management, with a special interest in nineteenth-century photography and paper ephemera. Prior to joining the staff at DHS, she spent nine years at the University of Delaware Library. She holds a master's degree in Library and Information Science from Drexel University and currently teaches a course in managing and curating paper archives for the Museum Studies Department at the University of Delaware.

Dael A. Norwood is a historian of nineteenth-century America specializing on the global dimensions of U.S. politics and economics. He earned his doctorate at Princeton University in 2012 and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Delaware.

Before coming to Newark, Norwood served as the Schwartz Postdoctoral Fellows at the New-York Historical Society and the New School, the Cassius Marcellus Clay Postdoctoral Associate in the History Department at Yale University, and as an assistant professor of history at Binghamton University.



Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 6 p.m.
A Woman’s Work is Never Done: Righting the Wrongs of Our Political Past and Present


Registration via ZOOM Webinar is required.


In 2019 the Delaware General Assembly approved the Equal Rights Amendment, but a woman’s work is never done. The Delaware Historical Society and Lewes Public Library host a discussion on the continued fight for women’s rights, led by a diverse panel of politically active and socially conscious women. Bring your questions, audience participation is encouraged!


Moderated by:

Dr. Emerald Christopher-Byrd, Assistant Professor, Women & Gender Studies, University of Delaware


Panelists include:


Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, J.D./M.A.C.T.

Principal, Delaware Transformative Justice,

Co-Chair, Delaware Hispanic Commission,

Executive Director, Latino Initiative on Restorative Justice


Shané Darby

Founder Black Mothers in Power


Morgan Keller

Communications Manager, ACLU Delaware


Rep. Valerie Longhurst

House Majority Leader, Delaware General Assembly


Pamela Malsch

Co-Chair, Women’s March Sussex-Delaware


Marlene A. Saunders, DSW, LMSW

Women's March Sussex-DE & Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice


Tara Sheldon, MSW

At-Large Director, CAMP Rehoboth


State Auditor Kathy McGuiness
Delaware’s first female State Auditor


This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.







Monday, August 10, 2020, 6 p.m.
The Woman’s Suffrage Movement: Below the Color-line


Registration via ZOOM Webinar is required





While the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1920, finally legalizing women's right to vote, few realize that it was a hard-fought 70-year journey. The struggle for women’s suffrage almost pre-dates the founding of the country and was brought about by hundreds of brave women--Black and white, who sacrificed their time, health, money, and social status to win that right.

Many courageous African American women fought to assure that they received the same rights as white women. Despite segregated schools, restaurants, and racial terror characteristic of the Jim Crow era, African American women organized, created an educational campaign, and marched in women's suffrage parades. It's easy to take for granted women's right to vote today. But, a look back at the people and events that led to the passage of the 19th Amendment reveals a heart-wrenching and compelling story that demands attention and recognition of the leaders of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, both Black and white.

About the Speakers

Syl Woolford earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Accounting from Delaware State University and an MBA in Marketing from Rutgers University. In 2008, Mr. Woolford began researching his family history and expanded that research into a total revisiting of African American history. He has given presentations on African American history since 2010 when he began lecturing on “African-American Soldiers in the Civil War.” Mr. Woolford serves on the Delaware Heritage Commission, the Historical and Cultural Affairs Collections Committee, Delaware Preservation Fund, and was a founding member of the Delaware Chapter of the Afro-American Genealogical Society.

Carol Scott has B.S. in Accounting and Business Administration from Goldey Beacom College and has studied Equity and Diversity at Rutgers University. Ms. Scott is the former Senior Associate Director of the New Jersey State School Boards Association (NJSBA) and has assisted boards of education to develop school district policy. She has designed and managed NJSBA’s Policy and Affirmative Action/Diversity Issues, Board Member Academy, and district training programs. Ms. Scott is known for her writing and motivational speaking. She is the founder of CAS & Associates, Inc.

This program is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Thursday, August 20, 2020, 6 p.m.
New Directions in African American History


Registration via ZOOM Webinar is required


Jesse Erickson, PhD
“Alice Dunbar-Nelson: Explorations of a Reading Life”


Join us via ZOOM as Jesse Erickson shares his research on the life and writings of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, a lifelong activist, educator, organizer, and orator. This talk is pre-recorded and will be followed by a Q&A.


Jesse Erickson received his PhD in Information Science from UCLA. He is currently the Coordinator of Special Collections and Digital Humanities and Assistant Professor in the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center at the University of Delaware.


This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.






Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 6 p.m.


Registration via ZOOM Webinar is required.


Educator and Historian Gregory S. Cooke hosts a screening and discussion of Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II   .  

From the Documentary Website,

Their Triumph Over the Double Stigma of Being Black and Female

Invisible Warriors features real pioneers – the first Black women to work in industry and government administrative service. They are hardworking underdogs of high character who do battle and win. They fled lives as domestics and sharecroppers to empower themselves while working in war production and U.S. government offices.

These patriotic pioneers share their wartime memories, recounting their battles against racism at home, Nazism abroad, and sexism everywhere. They represent 600,000 women like themselves who overcame the Great Depression, Jim Crow, sexual degradation, and workplace discrimination to break gender and racial barriers.

Black “Rosie the Riveters” were part of a sisterhood of 20 million women who built America’s “arsenal of democracy.” Without all of these women, the United States could not have won World War II.  (Invisible Warriors: African American Women in WWII)

Gregory is the creator and Director of Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II, a critically acclaimed, feature-length documentary that illuminates the wartime contributions of 600,000 “hidden figures” - “Rosie the Riveters” - pioneers who courageously triumph over racism and sexism to help win the war and create job opportunities in industry and government for future generations of African American women.  He is also the producer of the award winning Choc’late Soldiers from the USA (CSUSA), the untold story of 140,000 African American men and women who cross a racial divide and form an unexpected bond with British civilians during World War II.

Gregory is also the Founder and President of the Basil and Becky Educational Foundation (BBEEF). As a career educator and World War II historian, he is dedicated to helping "relocate African Americans from the "margins to the main pages of American and global history.” He speaks at educational institutions, museums and cultural institutions about African American military and civilian participation in World War II. After a long teaching career at Drexel University and the Community College of Philadelphia, he’s currently devoting his energies to documentary filmmaking, and BBEEF’s educational mission. Gregory earned an M.A. - Journalism, The Ohio State University, and a B.A. - English, American International College.
This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities



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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.