Every year, we spend the month of February celebrating the history of the African American culture and its impact on our nation and the state of Delaware. We recognize the countless men and women who empowered future generations through their actions, their words and their unwavering commitment towards equality. African American History Month highlights, for 28 days, a portion of our past that has paved the way for future generations.
Earlier this week, I honored this annual tradition by signing a proclamation at the Delaware Public Archives building in Dover – a location that seemed especially noteworthy this year. First, the building is located on the newly-renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North, which was dedicated just a few weeks ago in honor of Dr. King’s memory and legacy. Second, the Public Archives is home to a new exhibit, entitled Houses of Worship: The African American Experience in Delaware. Here you can learn about Reverend Peter Spencer, who founded the independent black church movement. Or The August Quarterly Festival, which takes place in the Tubman/Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington and commemorates the Underground Railroad, the Abolitionist Movement – and is the oldest, continuously celebrated festival in the country.
African American History Month serves as a time when we can intentionally focus on the history and culture of African Americans and how that history and culture has enriched our nation, but we must remember that African American history is not just an integral part of American history, it is American history, with people, places and events that enriched our nation and helped keep Delaware moving forward.