Birth of a Project:
The realization of the "Finding Their Voices": African American History & Legacy of Lewes walking tour
Submitted by: Marcos Salaverria
Director of Education
“Teaching, and specifically teaching critical thinking about history, is a way to help people find their voices.” - Ilyasah Shabazz
The above quote from the award-winning author, educator, and social activist gave the Lewes Historical Society’s African American history and legacy project its name. Since 2000, the research, organization, and execution of the "Finding Their Voices" walking tour has been conducted by LHS Director of Education, Marcos Salaverria. The walking tour was created as a first step in highlighting the important contributions of the African American community to Lewes' heritage over the past three centuries. With a focus on historic landmarks that endure within the Lewes historic district, multiple aspects of the community are featured including religion, industry, and education. The February premier of the walking tour was an unqualified success and was phase one of a plan to share the story of the African American history, and legacy, of Lewes and Sussex County.
In November 2021 the Jesse Ball Du Pont Foundation provided generous support to the Lewes Historical Society for the purpose of the deeper exploration of African American history in our area. The goal of the project is to collect, and share with the public. oral histories of this important historic community. In February of 2022 the LHS welcomed Darold Cuba to its team. Acting as oral historian, Darold’s experience collecting narratives through the National Cathedral, facilitates efforts made by LHS in conjunction with the African American Heritage Commission of Lewes (AAHCL). A minimum of twenty-five local, senior, and knowledgeable members of the Black Community will be interviewed through the final development of the project. The aspiration is to gather introspective views of an era of segregation, and of the evolving culture of Lewes from the mid to late 20th century, as well as create a permanent chronicle of the region that might otherwise be lost to time. Looking to the future, and to ensure the longevity of the project, the final phase will be the introduction of a digital Mobile App in late 2022.
The results of the project are important to the community as a whole to provide a fuller understanding of the history of the region, but Ilyasah Shabazz sheds light on an even greater goal with the following quote: “When students discover histories full of people like them, who lived full, rich, interesting lives, people who have triumphed and overcome so many systemic obstacles, it gives them an honest, grounded perspective, and the ability to view their own life within that same plane of possibility.”
Meet Darold Cuba!
The Society is happy to introduce you to Darold Cuba! Darold joined the LHS team in February of this year and we have been fortunate to have access to his significant talents. You read about Darold's role in the development of the "Finding Their Voices" project in the article above. Now have a look at Darold's bio. And if you happen to see Darold joining our merry band of historic interpreters at the Shipcarpenter Street campus be sure to say hello.
Darold is Cofounder of the AntiRacism: Ukraine-Russia (AR:UR) initiative, the founding Editor-In-Chief of the Harvard AntiRacism Policy Journal (ARPJ), currently serving as its founding Board Chair, a founder of the Harvard Kennedy School’s AntiRacism Working Group (ARWG), the Anti Racism Policy initiative (ARPi, a Soros Equality Fellow finalist), and the Freedom Colonies Working Group (FCWG), Darold is also a founder of the Pan African Decade of Return (PADoR) initiative, which aims to catalyze the goals of the UN SDGs by developing collaborative measures across the continent and in the diaspora during a decade long project to launch in 2025, following the UN General Assembly's proclamation of 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD), and inspired by the Ghana Year of Return initiative of 2019, which incubated at the Harvard Business School’s Innovation Lab (iLab) START-IT Venture program (c/o '21).
Darold has served as a Center for Public Leadership Fellow (‘21) at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Ivy League’s first Wikipedia Fellow (‘18-present), and the inaugural Oral History Fellow at the Washington National Cathedral (‘19-present). He is the Research Academic at the Harvard initiative dedicated to his “spiritual godfather,” the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice, at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, and serves as a Research Assistant with The Project on Workforce’s College-to-Career Connection at the HKS Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. He’s the Assistant Curator at the Lewes Historical Society (Delaware’s oldest European settlement), where he manages its African American Oral History initiative, and serves as co-curator, -producer and -director of the The Bridge that Carried Us Over exhibit at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington D.C., opening on Juneteenth of this year.
Darold is a founder & lead designer of the JUST Leadership learning stream at the Harvard Kennedy School, the first required antiracist & decolonial leadership course for its Mid Career MPA (MC/MPA) program. He co-founded #HackingRacism at the Columbia Business School’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship incubator (IE@Columbia ℅’17) as an initiative to help people dismantle systemic white supremacy and institutional racism in their everyday lives. It in turns incubates The #MappingFreedom initiative, the public-facing, crowd-sourced, open knowledge, open access, open source, knowledge equity, digital & emerging technology initiative which interactively documents and digitally maps all of the “freedom colonies” on the planet, and was the basis of his thesis at Columbia’s Oral History Master (OHMA) program, where it was a finalist for the university-wide Master's SynThesis competition. He’s the founder of the International Association of Freedom Colonies (iAFC) and its Oral History Archives, which also originated from his OHMA thesis, and co-founded #DisruptWikipedia with the Columbia University and Barnard College libraries (where he was also the first Wikimedian-In-Residence and Wikipedia Visiting Scholar), as an initiative to “disrupt, dismantle and eliminate the settler colonial bias causing the digital and tech colonialism on the world’s largest site for knowledge.” He also served as a member of Columbia’s Office of Academic Diversity Initiative (OADI) Student Delegation, was the student University Senator for the Social Sciences, as well as Councilor on the Graduate Council for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
An alum of The New York Times, VICE Media, the TriBeCa Film Festival and Fox Home Entertainment, Darold's work actively dismantles the settler colonial narrative, perspective, lens and worldview of the “colonizer culture” – especially the effects of digital, tech, and data colonialism – through the process of disruptive and innovative antiracist decolonization and indigenization initiatives. This process includes disrupting, and eliminating the “white gaze” (Morrison), the “white imagination” (Rankine), and the “colonized mind” (Fanon) of the “racecraft” (Fields) that create these institutional and systemic outputs that fail the “DuVernay Test” (Dargis) in the first place. Darold is also an alum of political teams on both sides of the American aisle, including governors, senators and state attorney generals.
Darold leads the Washington National Cathedral’s inaugural video oral history project, “Thus Saith Our Souls: The African-American Experience in the Episcopal Church,” and serves on the Cathedral’s Racial Justice Task Force, the NYC Cathedral of St. John the Divine’s Reparations and Racial Reconciliation committee, and Trinity Church Wall Street’s Achieving Racial Equity commission. He is a founding member of the Episcopal Futures initiative, which seeks to transform the Anglican community into “new ways of being that are life-giving, cultivate a sense of belonging, and catalyze transformation.” A native of the Virginia Tidewater, and a direct descendant of the indigenous Native American, African and European communities that founded what eventually became the United States of America, he was president of his high school tech club, while interning at the local bank, and for his senior thesis investigated the origins of these three continental cultures that make up his 125 year old “black” maternal family reunion in Asheville, N.C., the Baird Reunion, the country’s oldest Black family reunion, founded in 1897. A current doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge (history), he holds the MPA (Mid Career) from Harvard, the MA (Oral History) from Columbia, the BA (Theatre & PPE) from Temple.