Burial Ground Identified At John Dickinson Plantation

(DOVER, Del. — March 23, 2021) — Archaeological research has led to the identification of a burial ground at the John Dickinson Plantation in Dover, Delaware. The burial ground was found during archaeological fieldwork on March 9, 2021 and likely holds the enslaved individuals and other African Americans who lived, worked, and died on land owned by the Dickinson family. “We remain committed to telling inclusive history. This includes restoring dignity to those who have been forgotten. This important discovery presents a powerful moment for every Delawarean,” says Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock.

For two years the Department of State, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has undertaken archaeological investigations on the 450 acres of state property. The work has focused on identifying the burial ground for enslaved individuals that is referenced in primary source documents. “This is sacred ground for Delaware, and we will continue to treat it with the honor and respect it deserves. Our path forward is to protect the site, engage with the community about how to proceed, and continue to learn more through research and dialogue,” says Tim Slavin, Director of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

The John Dickinson Plantation is the boyhood home of John Dickinson, a Founding Father of the United States, a framer and signer of the U.S. Constitution. Dickinson wrote eloquently about freedom and liberty while at the same time holding other human beings in bondage.

At the John Dickinson Plantation, a state museum operated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the goal is to educate the public about the past utilizing the historic, cultural, and natural resources associated with the site.

The Division will continue to undertake additional research to learn more about this burial ground and those interred here and to engage with descendent communities in making important decisions regarding the expansion of the interpretive footprint of this land.

There is no access to this location.

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is 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, 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.

For additional information please contact:

Gloria Henry, Site Manager, John Dickinson Plantation, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
302-739-3277 and gloria.henry@delaware.gov

Tim Slavin, Director, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
302-736-7418 and timothy.slavin@delaware.gov

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Copia de la Resolución Conjunta No.10 Con Disculpas por la Esclavitud Firmada por el Gobernador Markell en los Archivos Públicos

Qué: El miércoles 10 de febrero el Gobernador Jack Markell firmó la Resolución Conjunta No. 10 en una ceremonia celebrada en los Archivos Públicos. La Resolución ofrece formalmente disculpas por el papel de Delaware en la esclavitud. Para celebrar la firma del histórico documento y conmemorar el Mes de la Historia Afroamericana, los Archivos han puesto en exhibición una copia completa de la Resolución No. 10 hasta finales del mes de febrero.

Cuándo: Desde el viernes 12 al lunes 29 de febrero de 2016.

Dónde: Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North, Dover, DE


Copy of House Joint Resolution 10 Apologizing for Slavery Signed by Governor Markell on Display at the Delaware Public Archives

What: On Wednesday, February 10, Governor Jack Markell signed House Joint Resolution 10 at a ceremony held at the Delaware Public Archives. The Resolution formally apologized for the state’s role in slavery. To celebrate the signing of this historical document and to commemorate African American History Month, a complete copy of House Joint Resolution 10 is now on public display at the Archives until the end of February.

When: Friday, February 12, 2016 until Monday, February 29, 2016.

Where: Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North, Dover, DE

For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@delaware.gov.


Governor Markell Recognizes 150th Anniversary of 13th Amendment, Announces Effort with Legislature to Apologize for State’s Role in Slavery

Joint Resolution to be introduced by General Assembly early next year would formally acknowledge, apologize for State’s role

Wilmington, DE – Joined by state legislators, community advocates and local parishioners during a worship service at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Governor Markell today recognized the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to legally abolish slavery.

“For generations, our country denied and actively contested a basic fact of humanity: that nothing about the color of one’s skin affects that person’s innate rights to freedom and dignity,” said Governor Markell. “We must publicly and candidly acknowledge the lasting damage of past sins – damage that continues to reverberate more than 150 years after the abolition of slavery.”

​Building on recent efforts to address historic injustices, including the recent issuance of a pardon for Underground Railroad conductor Samuel Burris, the Governor also announced his support of a joint resolution to officially condemn and apologize for Delaware’s role in slavery.

“The resolution being introduced today will do more than write a footnote into the history books that describe the atrocious conditions that some Delawareans inflicted upon people of African descent,” said Governor Markell. “This marks an important moment in owning up to our responsibility to fix the long legacy of damage that continues to result in inequality and unfair obstacles for countless citizens because of their race.”

The House Joint Resolution (HJR) is sponsored by Representative Stephanie T. Bolden (D-Wilmington East) and Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East) and will be introduced during legislative session early next year.

“Today we celebrate the ratification of the 13th Amendment and the voice it gave to those who were once voiceless, declaring for all time that no American would labor without reward,” said Rep. Bolden. “However, that act did not erase the memory of what our state did in the age before emancipation. For African Americans in Delaware, and for all Delawareans, we must join with other former slaveholding states in offering apologies for the inhumanity that was once lawful here.”

“Slavery is the darkest chapter of our nation’s history,” said Senator Henry. “And while the page has long been turned, the scars from the whippings, the bruises from the shackles, the tears from the torment can still be felt all these years later in the continued struggle against racism, prejudice and the power of the privileged. Who we are as a state and nation is shaped by our history – the good and the bad. And who we can be tomorrow is predicated upon our ability to show empathy for each other today. In my view, an apology for slavery is just that: an act of empathy that won’t undo the past, but will once and for all acknowledge the experience of so many Delawareans who still feel its harsh effects.”

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