“Murder Town, USA” Homicide, Structural Violence, and Activism in Wilmington

Join us for an insightful book talk featuring “Murder Town, USA: Homicide, Structural Violence, and Activism in Wilmington” by Yasser Arafat Payne, Brooklynn K. Hitchens, and Darryl L. Chambers.

Join us for an insightful book talk featuring “Murder Town, USA: Homicide, Structural Violence, and Activism in Wilmington” by Yasser Arafat Payne, Brooklynn K. Hitchens, and Darryl L. Chambers. Delve into their groundbreaking research that challenges traditional narratives surrounding violence in Black communities, shedding light on the deep-rooted impact of structural inequality and showcasing the resilience of the community.

Date: July 20, 2023

Time: 6:30PM-8:30PM

Doors open at 6:00PM

Location: The Delaware History Museum & Mitchell Center for African American Heritage, 504 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE

This is a Pay-What-You-Wish event. Light refreshments will be provided.

“Murder Town, USA” launches on July 14, 2023. Pre-order here: https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/murder-town-usa/9781978817364

Click here to register

Diversity in Latin America

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, join Charito Calvachi-Mateyko for a Diversity in Latin America presentation from the Delaware Humanities’ Speakers Bureau Program. Explore and celebrate the diverse history, anthropology, geography, language, and knowledge of Latin America.

This is an in-person event, free and open to the public. Registration is required.

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Participants will receive a free a copy of Navidad Latinoamericana/Latin American Christmas book/DC packet signed by Charito.

Participants will also join in a Circle of Peace. Circles of Peace are an ancient structure of dialogue among the indigenous people of Latin America. Listen and share about Latino identity, cherished memories of childhood and growing up as a Latinx/Hispanic within the American culture, and stories of being connected to the Latinx/Hispanic community. Cultural exchanges such as this broaden cultural competence and develop social intelligence. This program welcomes people from different walks of life who are interested in experiencing diversity.

Charito Calvachi-Mateyko is a member of the Delaware Humanities Speakers Bureau and Visiting Scholar Programs. After practicing law, she focused on Restorative Justice as a trainer and facilitator. Charito has served on the board of the United Way, AdVoz and YWCA in Lancaster, PA. For nearly two decades she has served on the Delaware Hispanic Commission –for the last decade as Co-Chair and Chair of the Community Social Justice proposing legislation and grassroots outreach. For the last six years, Charito has served on the board of ACLU-DE.

Delaware Historical Society Debuts Public Digital Collections

Digital Images and Documents From the Society’s Collections Aid Researchers in Locating and Discovering Historical Sources

March 15, 2022 – Delaware Historical Society (DHS) announces the launch of their new digital collections platform. The nonprofit has begun digitizing collections to enhance access to DHS resources for local, regional, and national audiences. It offers access to primary source information to everyone from researchers, teachers and students, as well as to the general public.

DHS collaborated with the JP Morgan Chase “Force for Good” program, an initiative designed to bring sustainable technology solutions to nonprofits worldwide, to launch the digital collections platform. The program provided organizational and logistical support.

Leigh Rifenburg, DHS Chief Curator, described the initiative. “Our digital collections site is about sharing DHS collections and making them accessible to researchers, regardless of location. As the demand for digital access continues to grow, we’re thrilled to connect anyone interested in Delaware history with our resources, here at home and around the world.” According to Executive Director David Young, “The digitization of our collections is a prime example of Delaware Historical Society’s commitment to bringing Delaware’s diverse and fascinating stories to life. We are engaged in many innovative and ambitious programs that demonstrate Delaware’s unique and important place in history.”

Visit digital.dehistory.org to view the digitized photographs and documents. Get a glimpse of daily life in Delaware’s past. Explore Sussex, Kent, and New Castle Counties as they developed through the centuries. Read primary sources about enslavement, liberation, and abolition. More will be added each month, so check back often.

The Rocks and the Underground Railroad

The Rocks and the Underground Railroad or What I Did in Pandemic Isolation – A Research Odyssey. 2022 marks the bicentennial of Harriet Tubman’s birth. Join us as we celebrate Harriet Tubman Day and discover Wilmington’s significance on the journey to freedom.


Register Below

Please note: This is an in person event! Seating is limited. Registration is NOT required to view the program via live stream on Facebook.


Born enslaved in Maryland, Harriet Tubman successfully escaped bondage but returned repeatedly, risking her life, to lead her family and friends to freedom. Tubman was an associate and friend of Wilmington’s Thomas Garrett, Quaker abolitionist and “stationmaster” on the Underground Railroad in Delaware, but they weren’t the only Underground Railroad operatives in Wilmington.

The Delaware Historical Society invites you to a presentation featuring Debbie Martin, City of Wilmington Historic Preservation Planner and board member of the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware.

Debbie Martin began her foray into Wilmington Black American history with her first assignment as the City of Wilmington’s Historic Preservation Planner – stepping in as the administrator for the City-sponsored feasibility studies that much later culminated in the establishment of the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage in 2016. Her next major assignment was to take over the administration of the fledgling Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware project, supported by the Baker administration and the then-newish program of the National Park Service– the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. By the time this project was completed in 2009, it had established the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway (Delaware segment), produced a historic research context, and supported a number of programs and exhibits throughout the state. The Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware became an independent, non-profit organization in 2012, and she serves on the Board of Directors. Also, by that time, she was under the spell of under-told history and there was no turning back.

Among other duties at the City of Wilmington, Debbie is responsible for federal reviews involving historic properties and a wide-variety of public history projects ranging from themed cycling tours, National Register nominations, a web-based Underground Railroad tour, and new public markers and panels on the city landscape.



Admission to program is FREE but limited to 40 people.

The program will also be livestreamed on Facebook @dehistory.

Delaware Historical Society Launching a New Video Series, Speaking of Delaware…

February 3, 2022 – Join us on the first Thursday of every month as we discover the human side of history.

Learn about the many voices and fascinating life stories that shaped American history. Let’s talk about the paintings of Ed Loper, Miss Nagano, the Japanese Friendship Doll, Thomas Garrett’s silver tray and teapot, and other untold wonders from our collections.

Speaking of Delaware… is a series of short videos presented by the Delaware Historical Society and produced by Short Order Production House. Videos will premiere the first Thursday of every month at 8:30 on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and our website. Check out dehistory.org/speaking-of-delaware for more information about this project and other resources. This series is funded in part by the Longwood Foundation, Delmarva Power, an Exelon Company, and by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Delaware Historical Society’s Digital Collections Go Live!

February 1, 2022 – One of our most frequently asked questions is how to view Delaware Historical Society (DHS) collections online. Now you can!

Today, our digital collections go live! Search our new digital asset management system (DAMS) from your favorite device wherever you are with access to the internet. Check out what we have digitized. More will be added each month, so continue to come back for updates!

After more than a year of hard work and some help from our friends in the JP Morgan Chase Force for Good program, we’re thrilled to invite you in to explore amazing images and documents from our digital collections, with more to come. We believe in making our collections accessible and open to anyone who wants to use them. This allows us to connect and share resources with you and visitors around the world.

Visit digital.dehistory.org and explore the rest of dehistory.org to see other resources we have available!

Delaware Student-Teacher Team Chosen for National History Day Summer Institute in Hawaiʻi

Two women standing next to each other and smiling,, one wearing a green dress and the other wearing a green long-sleeve shirt

Cab Calloway School of the Arts teacher Erin Sullivan and student Ivy Hoffman, 2021

January 31, 2022 – National History Day and Pearl Harbor Historic Sites Provide Learning, Research, and All Expenses Paid Trips to Hawaiʻi

Cab Calloway School of the Arts teacher Erin Sullivan and student Ivy Hoffman have been selected to participate in Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute, a student-teacher cooperative learning program. The program, coordinated through National History Day®, is sponsored by the Pearl Harbor Historic Site Partners, including Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, Pacific Historic Parks, USS Missouri Memorial Association, and Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor.

During spring 2022, students and teachers in the program will read historical texts and primary documents, participate in online discussions, and research the life of a fallen military member from the student’s region who is buried or memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.  In July, teams travel to Hawaiʻi to engage in on-site learning opportunities, such as spending a night aboard The USS Missouri and visiting with military and local historians at the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites and across the island of Oahu. Travel and program expenses are provided for all participants.

At the culmination of the Sacrifice for Freedom program, the students will develop a Silent Hero® profile to be published online during the 2022-2023 academic year at NHDSilentHeroes.org.

This year, 54 teams from across the U.S., Guam, and Singapore applied for the competitive summer institute and 16 were selected to participate. Sacrifice for Freedom began in 2019 as an opportunity for student-teacher teams to study World War II in the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Past teacher participants noted that the Institute was a significant professional development experience that changed the way they view World War II in the Pacific. Student participants reported that the research and Hawaiʻi-based learning activities challenged their thinking and expanded their perspective of history.

Erin Sullivan is a National History Day Master Teacher. She has taught for 17 years and has participated in National History Day for 7 years. In addition to supporting students in the state and national competition, Erin has served as a judge, designed teacher resources, provided professional development, and been both a student discussion leader and facilitator for National History Day graduate courses. This year Erin is working with the United States Institute of Peace as a Peace teacher.

Ivy Hoffman is an eleventh-grade Technical Theater major at Cab Calloway School of the Arts. She loves to learn everything she can about world history, but she is especially interested in the stories and lives of individual people and the way their actions can affect the bigger picture. Outside of learning history, she enjoys working behind the scenes for stage productions, writing poetry, serving on Student Council, and acting as a lawyer for her school’s Mock Trial team.


About National History Day in Delaware

National History Day in Delaware is a year-long history education program that challenges students in grades 6 through 12 to engage in historical research, analysis and interpretation, and creative expression through project-based learning. National History Day in Delaware promotes civic, career, and college ready skills necessary for the 21st century. National History Day Delaware has been sponsored by the Delaware Historical Society for more than 20 years. For more information email Director of Education, Rebecca Fay at rfay@dehistory.org or visit www.dehistory.org.

About National History Day (NHD)

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park that seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels. The top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, and Southwest Airlines. For more information, visit nhd.org.

About the Delaware Historical Society

The Delaware Historical Society owns and operates the Delaware History Museum; the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage; a nationally recognized Research Library; Old Town Hall; Willingtown Square, four 18th-century houses surrounding a picturesque urban courtyard located in downtown Wilmington; and the Read House & Gardens, a National Historic Landmark. For more information, call (302) 655-7161, email deinfo@dehistory.org or visit www.dehistory.org.


National History Day in Delaware 2022 to Take Place on April 30

Save the date! National History Day in Delaware in taking place on Saturday April 30, 2022 at Newark High School (venue subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions).

National History Day in Delaware, an educational program sponsored by the Delaware Historical Society, engages middle and high school students from across the state in historical research, interpretation, and creative expression through project-based learning.

We need Judges for the state competition. No experience necessary. All we require is a love of supporting students. Email rfay@dehistory.org or visit dehistory.org/national-history-day for more information.