Friday, February 16
Dr. Angela Winand, head of the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage and Diversity Programming at the Delaware Historical Society will give a presentation on the "Journey to Freedom" exhibit at the Delaware History Museum.
“Journey to Freedom” tells the history of African Americans in Delaware, and is divided into two sections, “In Pursuit of Freedom,” and “Beyond Bondage: Breaking Down Barriers.”
The first section explores African American presence in Delaware from its colonial beginnings through the periods of the American Revolution and Civil War. It examines the contradiction at the heart of the nation’s founding, the existence of a social, political and economic system based in the ownership of people of African descent and appropriation of their unpaid labor in a country professing its belief in human rights and equality. This exhibit also explores the ways in which enslaved men and women resisted their treatment and sought their freedom, as well as the contributions of Delawareans to the abolitionist movement, and Wilmington’s role in the Underground Railroad.
The second section presents the Emancipation Proclamation and Reconstruction period, the enforcement of Jim Crow laws, the role of black schools in the local community, the challenge to segregation begun in Delaware with the Bulah and Belton cases and culminating in the Brown decision, and the impact of black leadership during the civil rights movement and afterwards. Using historical items that have been donated to the Historical Society’s collections, the exhibition also includes the role of Delaware in the founding of independent black churches and a variety of black community and social organizations. There is also a section dedicated to the creativity of black artists, including those with local roots, such as jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, and visual artists Ed Loper and James Newton. The recently appointed Poet Laureates of Delaware, the Twin Poets, are also represented. The Mitchell Center provides special events and educational programming for the general public, as well programs for visiting K—12 classes, and Family Saturday programs focused on African American history.
Before starting a new career as a museum professional, Winand spent 20 years teaching courses in African American history and culture at the college level. She holds a PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan, and is a recent graduate of the Museum Studies Master’s program at Johns Hopkins University.