DELAWARE SOCIAL JUSTICE REMEMBRANCE COALITION AT A GLANCE
The Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition is an active group of community members interested in remembering the past in order to clear a path for a more positive and productive future. This group was founded by 15-year-old Savannah Shepherd after she attended the opening of the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama in April, 2018. There, she learned of the one documented lynching in the state of Delaware--the lynching of George White near Prices Corner in June, 1903. On June 23, 1903, one of the most horrific acts of violence occurred right here in New Castle County, Delaware. The victim of this terror was George White, a black farm laborer. He was accused of and imprisoned for attacking a white woman named Helen Bishop. Mr. White was not tried in a court of law, but dragged from the workhouse where he was being held while awaiting trial. Before a crowd of thousands, he was burned alive. Spectators collected and sold his bones as souvenirs. The news of this terrible act was widespread and many political figures denounced this heinous crime. Savannah became inspired by the efforts of the Equal Justice Initiative to spread awareness in the state and began the process to have a historical marker erected at the site of this egregious offense. 116 years after this occurrence, on Sunday, June 23, 2019, a historical marker was erected by the State of Delaware. It was a moving ceremony that made an impact on our state and beyond. Sadly, six weeks later, the marker was stolen. The coalition remained undaunted by this crime and the marker was reinstalled on Sunday, October 20, 2019. It is imperative that this is not a one time effort. We must continue to uncover and remember the occurrences of the past and tell the stories that have brought us to where we are today. Please spread the message of this historic event and visit eji.org to learn more about the history of lynchings in America.
Learning about the past to move toward a just future.
Savannah enjoys speaking to school and community groups about her learning experience in Montgomery and the journey to install a historical marker in remembrance of George White.
Corbit-Calloway Public Library, Presenter Odessa, Delaware June 2019
Girls State Conference, Presenter Dover, DE June 2019
Dedication of Historic Marker in Memory of the Lynching of George White, Organizer, Speaker June 2019
Delaware Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow, Speaker Wilmington, Delaware July 2019
Delaware CAN Conference, Panelist Wilmington, DE August 2019
Panel on White Privilege, Panelist Wilmington, DE September 2019
Lynching in Delaware, Speaker Milton, DE September, 2019
Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools, Workshop Presenter Wilmington, DE October 2019
Rededication of George White Marker, Organizer, Speaker
Wilmington, DE October 2019
League of Women Voters, Guest Speaker Hot Topics Luncheon
Newark, DE October 2019
William Penn Charter, Guest Lecturer
Philadelphia, PA October 2019
My Sister’s Keeper, Presenter
Newark, DE November 2019
Sanford School Middle School
Hockessin, DE December 2019
St. Andrew's School, Keynote Speaker
MULTIPLYING GOOD ART INSTALLATION
Engaging students in the marker project.
The goal of this initiative is to allow more space for student voices in the community remembrance project around the 1903 lynching of George White. Students are invited to learn more about this tragic event and translate what they know into a creative expression of restorative justice. All interested students should fill out the interest form on this website or email
UNEQUAL JUSTICE PROJECT
Helping The Community
Partnership Formed to Research Unequal Justice in Delaware
Wilmington, DE– A project to unearth the forgotten and unknown instances of unequal justice in the First State is underway through the Delaware Historical Society’s Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage, the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition.
The project, “Unequal Justice in Delaware – Rewriting the Narrative,” will explore the history of racial violence, remembrance, and social justice throughout Delaware’s history and across all three counties. The project will merge rigorous academic research from various higher education departments with grassroots community engagement and activism.
“The University of Delaware is extremely excited to be a partner in this important project,” said James Jones, Director of the University’s Center for the Study of Diversity, which is coordinating UD’s participation. “The talent, dedication and expertise of our community is a natural and important source of support for this valuable effort to better understand Delaware’s racial history and to raise awareness and implement reforms to guide us toward a more just society for all Delawareans.”
Support for the project at UD, said Jones, will include the Provost, and broad engagement from faculty, students and staff in the Morris Library, Africana Studies, History Department, Department of Sociology, Office of Community Engagement, School of Education, and the School for Public Policy and Administration.
The stories revealed through research and public engagement events will be brought to light through oral and digital histories, as well as curriculum development. The project will also explore how research and public engagement can inform policy. It is inspired by Bryan Stevenson’s groundbreaking work with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL.
Wide participation is also planned at Delaware State University (DSU), said Dr. Akwasi Osei, Associate Dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences and Director of the Global Societies. “This joint effort on Delaware History will bring together faculty, staff, students, and others to contribute to the further edification of all of Delaware and the nation,” said Dr. Osei. “It will go to show that despite our current ‘tribalism,’ we have always been in this together, and will continue to be.”
Dr. Osei said the project will help tell the American story. “That magic moment, well over two hundred years ago, when we declared the basic humanity of all is perhaps the greatest moment in that history,” he said. “That we have to ‘rewrite’ the narrative of the actual unfolding of that story is indicative of how rocky the journey has been.”
The partnership also includes the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition. “The Delaware Social Justice Coalition (DSJC) is thrilled to be a part of this collaborative that will continue the work of illuminating and memorializing past incidents of racial terror in the state of Delaware,” said Amy Shepherd, an officer of DSJC. “We appreciate our state's willingness to understand how such incidents have impacted life as we know it today and we look forward to Delaware's propulsion toward becoming a leader in changing the narrative around race and poverty, as Bryan Stevenson urges.”
A website for the project is currently under development, which will be essential for the progress of the historical initiative and dissemination of the narratives it yields.
For questions about the project, contact Stephanie Lampkin, Director of the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEWS & VIEWS
Your Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition Resource Center