POSTPONED: “The Kidnapping of Bathsheba Bungy” at the New Castle Court House Museum on March 21, 2020

Valarie Petty Boyer Ph.D. will tell the story of Bathsheba Bungy
at the New Castle Court House Museum on March 21, 2020.

NOTE: This program has been postponed. Date to be determined

(DOVER, Del.—March 9, 2020)—In celebration of National Women’s History Month, historical interpreter Valarie Petty Boyer, Ph.D. will utilize monologue and song to tell the true story of Bathsheba Bungy, an African American girl from New Castle, Del. who was kidnapped by two white men in 1830 and taken to Maryland to be sold into slavery. The program explores Bungy’s ordeal and escape, and the actual trial of her kidnappers which was held in the New Castle Court House—the very location where Boyer’s performance will be held.

“The Kidnapping of Bathsheba Bungy” will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del. Admission is free and open to the public but, due to space restrictions, reservations are suggested by calling 302-323-4453. The museum will also be open for visitation and tours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Valarie Petty Boyer holds a doctorate in education from Walden University; and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education—both from the University of Delaware. A resident of Dover, Del., she teaches sociology, human development and general psychology at Delaware Technical and Community College.

As a historical interpreter, Boyer writes and performs her own programs which often feature her singing Negro spirituals. In addition to Bathsheba Bungy, she has portrayed antislavery activist Charlotte Forten Grimke; Nannie Goode who taught at the Iron Hill Colored School in Newark, Del. in the 1920s; and escaped slave Susan Petty, a fictional character created by Boyer and named for her grandmother.

Constructed in 1732, the New Castle Court House is one of the oldest active court buildings in the United States and was Delaware’s first state capitol. Here, the Colonial Assembly passed the 1776 Separation Resolution creating the Delaware State. During its nearly 300 years of history, this National Historic Landmark has played pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.

Photo of the New Castle Court House Museum
New Castle Court House Museum

The New Castle Court House Museum is administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

Picture of the Logo of the American Alliance of Museums

-End-

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Harriet Tubman living history at Old State House on March 10

Millicent Sparks will portray Harriet Tubman at The Old State House on March 10, 2020.

(DOVER, Del.—Feb. 27, 2020)—In celebration of both National Harriet Tubman Day and National Women’s History Month, actress Millicent Sparks will bring to life the noted Underground Railroad conductor who helped dozens of enslaved African Americans escape to freedom prior to the American Civil War.

The program will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del. Admission is free and open to the public but, due to space restrictions, reservations are suggested by calling 302-744-5054. The museum will also be open for visitation and tours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Note: A previous version of this release incorrectly noted that the event would take place on Thursday, March 10, 2020. The correct day is Tuesday, March 10.

“The Harriet Tubman Living History Experience” is organized by the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage at the Delaware Historical Society and is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, go to the Delaware Historical Society event calendar.

Harriet Tubman was born in 1822 as a slave in Dorchester County, Md. After escaping her own chains, she returned to the South on 13 missions, helping more than 70 family members, friends and other enslaved people make their way to freedom. During the Civil War, she served as a spy, recruiter and nurse for the Union Army. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in U.S. military history when she led the 1863 raid along the Combahee River in South Carolina which freed more than 700 slaves. After service in the conflict, Tubman returned to her home in Auburn, N.Y. In her later years, she fought for women’s rights but did not live to see women attain the right to vote. She died in 1913.

Millicent Sparks is an accomplished actor/writer/producer who has performed on local, regional and international stages and in film and on television. A lifelong history buff, she has researched and produced several living-history performances with special emphasis on the African American experience. As part of her portrayal of Harriet Tubman at The Old State House, Sparks will interact with the audience, responding in character to questions about the abolitionist’s life in slavery, the Underground Railroad and the Civil War.

Completed in 1791, The Old State House is one of the earliest capitol buildings in the nation, serving as the home of Delaware’s legislature until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall. The venerable structure now appears as it would have in the late 1700s during the United States’ critical early years as an independent country. It features a courtroom, governor’s and county offices and chambers for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives. The building is situated on Dover’s historic Green, a public area designated by William Penn in 1683. The Green is a partner site of the First State National Historical Park.

Photo of The Old State House at night
The Old State House

The Old State House is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

Picture of the Logo of the American Alliance of Museums

-End-

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Ron Whittington to portray Hall of Famer William “Judy” Johnson at the New Castle Court House Museum on July 20, 2019

Ron Whittington as Judy Johnson

(DOVER, Del.—July 11, 2019)—On Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 1 p.m., the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., will present “History of the Negro Baseball Leagues” in which living-history interpreter Ron Whittington of the Delaware Humanities Forum Speakers’ Bureau will portray Hall of Famer William “Judy” Johnson in a program that explores the history of the Negro baseball leagues prior to Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in the major leagues. Admission is free and open to the public but reservations are requested by calling the museum at 302-323-4453.

According to his plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Johnson, who spent his childhood in Wilmington, Del. and later lived in Marshallton, Del., was “considered best third baseman of his day in Negro leagues. Outstanding as fielder and excellent clutch hitter who batted over .300 most of his career. Helped Hilldale team win three flags in row 1923 – 24 – 25. Also played for 1935 champion Pittsburgh Crawfords.”

Constructed in 1732, the New Castle Court House is one of the oldest active court buildings in the United States and was Delaware’s first state capitol. Here, the Colonial Assembly passed the 1776 Separation Resolution creating the Delaware State. During its nearly 300 years of history, this National Historic Landmark has played pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.

Photo of the New Castle Court House Museum
New Castle Court House Museum

The New Castle Court House Museum is administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

Image of the American Alliance of Museums logo

-End-

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787
E-mail:Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Negro Travelers’ Green Book program at the New Castle Court House Museum on March 16, 2019

(DOVER, Del.—March 6, 2019)—On Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 1 p.m., the New Castle Court House Museum, located at 211 Delaware St. in New Castle, Del., will present “Preserving African-American History in Delaware: Highlighting Vibrant Communities Through Research and the ‘Green Book,’ ” a presentation by historian Carlton Hall of the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office on the “Green Book,” a travel and vacation guidebook for people of color during the segregation era. The program will also explore the stories of African-Americans and their challenges living through the Jim Crow laws in Delaware from the 1920s to the 1960s. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.

The Green Book, 1956
The Green Book, 1956

Carlton Hall grew up in New Castle and is a graduate of William Penn High School. He now lives in Bear with his wife and three children. He earned a master’s degree in historic preservation from Delaware State University in 2013 and began his tenure at the State Historic Preservation Office in 2015. In 2018, he was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “40 Under 40” list for his research and presentations about Delaware listings in the Green Book. “40 Under 40: People Saving Places” honors individuals under the age of 40 across the United States who are working to support the mission of historic preservation through fields such as architecture, community activism and business.

Carlton Hall
Carlton Hall

Constructed in 1732, the New Castle Court House is one of the oldest active court buildings in the United States and was Delaware’s first state capitol. Here, the Colonial Assembly passed the 1776 Separation Resolution creating the Delaware State. During its nearly 300 years of history, this National Historic Landmark has played pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.

New Castle Court House Museum
New Castle Court House Museum

The New Castle Court House Museum is administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

Image of the American Alliance of Museums logo

-End-

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Underground Railroad exhibit to open at the New Castle Court House Museum on Feb. 23, 2019

-Exhibit-opening events to include a lecture, historical re-enactment and music-

(DOVER, Del.—Feb. 12, 2019)—The exhibit, “The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware,” will open with a series of special programs on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 at the New Castle Court House Museum located at 211 Delaware St.in New Castle, Del. Admission is free and open to the public.

Image from “The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware”
Image from “The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware”

The exhibit explores Delaware’s role in the clandestine network that transported American slaves to freedom including the true journey of the Hawkins family from bondage in Maryland, through Delaware, to freedom in Pennsylvania. Part II of the exhibit explores some of the challenges faced by Black Delawareans after the Civil War, and showcases Delaware trailblazers—including Jane Mitchell, “Judy” Johnson, Louis Redding and Lisa Blunt Rochester, among many others—who helped break racial and gender barriers.

Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Feb. 23, the museum will celebrate the exhibit opening with a series of activities including “Delaware Black History: Past and Present,” a lecture at 11 a.m. by Dr. James Newton, professor emeritus of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware; a 1 p.m. re-enactment of the 1848 trial of Thomas Garrett who was found guilty in aiding in the escape of the enslaved Hawkins family; and “Songs of a Faithful People” performed by Valerie Boyer at 2 p.m.

Dr. James Newton will speak at the New Castle Court House Museum on Feb. 23, 2019 as part of the opening of “The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware.”
Dr. James Newton will speak at the New Castle Court House Museum on Feb. 23, 2019 as part of the opening of “The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware.”

In addition, on Sunday, Feb. 24, the museum will present a 2 p.m. screening of “Whispers of Angels: A Story of the Underground Railroad,” an award-winning film that examines the firsthand efforts of Thomas Garrett, William Still and Harriet Tubman in helping to free American slaves. The film stars Ed Asner and Blair Underwood, and was filmed in New Castle and other Delaware sites. Admission is free. Note: A Jan. 24, 2019 press release distributed by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs incorrectly indicated that “Whispers of Angels” would be screened on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2019 at 2 p.m. The correct date is Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at 2 p.m.

“The Path to Freedom: A History of the Underground Railroad in Delaware” was created by the staff of the New Castle Court House Museum working together with the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team. The exhibit will be on display for an undetermined period of time. Museum operating-hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4453.

Constructed in 1732, the New Castle Court House is one of the oldest active court buildings in the United States and was Delaware’s first state capitol. Here, the Colonial Assembly passed the 1776 Separation Resolution creating the Delaware State. During its nearly 300 years of history, this landmark has played many pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.

New Castle Court House Museum
New Castle Court House Museum

The New Castle Court House Museum is administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

American Alliance of Museums logo
-End-

Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov