Dover to celebrate Black History Month with cultural, educational events

Charlie Megginson Culture, Headlines

Black History Month

A group of local nonprofit organizations and businesses have kicked off a month-long series of in-person and virtual events highlighting Black history, culture, art, music, and theater. 

The 2022 Dover Citywide Black History Celebration is the culmination of a partnership between the Biggs Museum of American Art, Delaware State News, Delaware State University, DonDel Productions, Dover Public Library, First State Heritage Park, Inner City Cultural League and Sankofa Cultural Arts Center.

This year’s programs are sponsored in part by Chesapeake Utilities and Dover Federal Credit Union, with virtual events sponsored by Bayhealth.

More information about the celebration can be found here.

Separately, during the month of February, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will also be sponsoring five special events in commemoration of African American History Month. Those events are listed below the Dover Citywide events.

Events include:
  • Location: Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal Street, Dover, DE 19901
  • Date: Friday, Feb. 4 – May 21, 2022
  • Event: Visions & Voices: A juried exhibition of Mid-Atlantic African American Artists
  • Event Description: “After years of successfully hosting juried art competitions for photographers, landscape artists, and figural artists of the Mid-Atlantic Region, the Biggs Museum is proud to introduce a new juried exhibition highlighting the work of regional African American artists. This exhibition will present art from all visual art media including, but not limited to painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, craft, fiber, and video. The physical exhibition will be accompanied by an opening reception, artist talks, public programming, and gallery sales of the accepted works.”

  • Location: Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal Street, Dover, DE 19901
  • Date: Friday, Feb. 4, 2022 — 5 p.m. til 8 p.m.
  • Event: Visions & Voices Opening Reception
  • Event Description: “Join the Biggs Museum for an opening reception for the Visions & Voices on Friday, February 4, 5 pm – 8 pm. The reception for this juried exhibition featuring local African American Artists will be held as a complimentary community event in conjunction with Dover’s Citywide Black History Month Celebration. Masks are required to be worn inside the Museum; light refreshments will be served. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Register online or call 302-674-2111 ext. 0. This opening is free for all visitors. Drink tickets can be purchased on-site for $3 each or $5 for two. One drink ticket = one beer or glass of wine. All other refreshments are complimentary.”

  • Location: Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal Street, Dover, DE 19901
  • Date: Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 — 10 a.m. til 4 p.m.
  • Event: First Saturday & Biggs Kids
  • Event Description: “The Biggs extends free admission to the public on the First Saturday each month. On February 5th, the public is invited to explore the new exhibition Visions & Voices, as well as the other exhibitions on display, Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray and Unmasking Culture: An Examination of the Ritual Masks of Mexico which will come to a close on February 12. During First Saturday, the museum hosts its monthly free Biggs Kids Workshop. February’s workshop is inspired by Visions & Voices. Biggs Kids will create artwork using tips on how to channel their artistic voices to create a vision that is uniquely their own.”

  • Date: Saturday, Feb. 12, 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • Event: Delaware Black Women Leaders:  Past, Present & Future
  • Event Description: “Free Admission. This Citywide Black History Celebration event will include a static exhibit in addition to in-person presentations by local black women leaders. Exhibits and presentations will include the following women:  Dr. Anthea Aikins, Linda Arrey, Denise Hicks Barnes, Troy Farmer, Dr. Eunice Gwanmesia, Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, Maxine Lewis, Charlotte Miller-Lacy, Dr. Wilma Mishoe and Kim Warfield. In addition, the youth of the Sankofa Drummers and Dancers will perform throughout both afternoon performances. Complimentary carry-out refreshments will be available for all event attendees while supplies last. This is a free, non-ticketed program open to all. Admission to the venue will be limited based on the current COVID guidelines on the day of the event. All event attendees will be required to wear masks.”

  • Location: Dover Public Library, 35 E. Loockerman Street, Dover, DE 19901
  • Date: Friday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m.
  • Event: Sankofa Drums and Dancers
  • Event Description: “The talented youth from the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center will perform African drumming and dancing in traditional costumes.”

  • Location: Dover Public Library, 35 E. Loockerman Street, Dover, DE 19901
  • Date: Tuesday, Feb. 15, 6 p.m.
  • Event: Black Women Leaders in the Early 20th Century
  • Event Description: “In the early 20th century women, both Black and white, were organizing and protesting to get the right to vote. Black women were also joining the fight with Black men to end lynching in America and for access to quality education. Ida B. Wells Barnett, Mary Church Terrell and Margaret Washington were three of the women that played a leadership role in organizing Black women to take on these fights. Led by Syl Woolford, the presentation describes the obstacles which these women faced in fighting for their human rights and the progress they made in battles that are still being fought today.”

  • Location: Dover Public Library, 35 E. Loockerman Street, Dover, DE 19901
  • Date: Friday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m.
  • Event: Women in Jazz
  • Event Description: “Women have been involved in jazz since the early 1920s, not just as vocalists, but as instrumentalists, composers, and arrangers. An understanding of jazz would not be complete without highlighting the influence and contributions of women, such as Bessie Smith, Valaida Snow, Mildred Bailey, Mary Lou Williams, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughn. Learn about these women and their ability to create, perform, and survive in a time when jazz was considered, “a man’s world” in this program that includes a live music performance via Zoom. Register to receive the Zoom link.”

  • Location: Dover Public Library, 35 E. Loockerman Street, Dover, DE 19901
  • Date: Thursday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m.
  • Event: “The Other Side of the Tracks” Film & Discussion
  • Event Description: “This program features the short documentary film The Other Side of the Tracks. Focusing on the formative years of Dr. Reba Hollingsworth in Milford, Delaware, the film examines segregation in southern Delaware during the early to mid-20th century. In the documentary, Dr. Hollingsworth talks about the challenges and triumphs that she experienced growing up in Milford. Following the film, there will be a question and answer period with Dr. Reba Hollingsworth and the film’s creator, Tom Summers.”

  • Location: First State Heritage Park/John Bell House, 43 The Green, Dover, DE 19901
  • Dates: Friday, Feb. 4, 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17, 10 a.m., Friday, Feb. 18, 2 p.m.
  • Event: Hidden Lives:  Slavery, Freedom & The Green curated walking tour
  • Event Description: “People of color have been an integral part of the Dover community across more than 300 years of history, but through much of that time were treated as second-class citizens at best…and often worse.  Although their lives were tightly woven into the fabric of Dover’s everyday and their contributions meaningfully shaped this city, their experiences have only too rarely been included in the Dover story as they deserve to be.  In this pilot of a NEW walking tour from First State Heritage Park, they invite members of our community to join as they reveal glimpses of these hidden lives unveiled by their ongoing research, sharing deeply human stories of love and loss, hard work, painful setbacks, and triumphs against adversity.  If you attend, please consider leaving feedback on this tour!  Your input is a vital part of the process, doing full justice to the rich stories of Dover’s past.  After your tour, head just steps away to the Friends of Old Dover/Dover Historical Society to see exhibits on Dover’s history as well as a display on the life of famous Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman! Reservations are encouraged!  Reservations and inquiries may be directed to the FSHP office at 302-739-9194 or emailed to [email protected].  Facial coverings are required of all participants aged kindergarten and up.”

According to event organizers, admission to any of the in-person events may be limited based on the current COVID restrictions on the day of the event and face masks are required for all attendees and event staff. 

Refer back to the event website on the day of the event to check for any changes to the schedules or COVID requirements.


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Events

During the month of February, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will also be sponsoring five special events in commemoration of African American History Month.

All programs are free and open to the public. Go to this link for additional information and reservation instructions.

  • Location: Virtual/Zoom
  • Date: Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, 2 p.m.
  • Event: Preserving African-American History in Delaware: Highlighting Vibrant Communities Through Research and the ‘Green Book.’
  • Event Description: “Virtual presentation by historian Carlton Hall of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ State Historic Preservation Office on the “Green Book,” a travel and vacation guidebook for people of color during the segregation era. Zoom registration is required and available on the South Coastal Library website. 2 p.m.”

  • Location: Virtual/Zoom
  • Date: Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, 11 a.m.
  • Event: Desegregating Delaware: Louis Redding and Education in the First State.
  • Event Description: “Virtual program in which lead interpreter Gavin Malone of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Old State House discusses how two cases that local attorney Louis Redding took on in the early 1950s began the process of desegregating Delaware’s education system and impacted civil rights efforts on a national level. Program streamed live via Zoom. Registration required and only available by clicking here.”

  • Location: Virtual/Facebook Live
  • Date: Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, 4 p.m.
  • Event: Free and Fettered: Black Sailors and the War of 1812.
  • Event Description: “Virtual program in which historical interpreter Tom Pulmano of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Zwaanendael Museum explores the lives of Delaware’s Black sailors who served as free, enslaved or impressed men during the War of 1812. The program is pre-recorded and will be available on the museum’s Facebook page beginning at 4 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2022.”

  • Location: Virtual/Facebook Live
  • Date: Friday, Feb. 25, 2022
  • Event: Highlights of African American History in Delaware
  • Event Description: “Video in which historic site interpreter Joan Foster and lead interpreter Juliette Wurm of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ New Castle Court House Museum bring to life information from the museum’s exhibit on African American history in Delaware. Video includes the stories of the Hawkins Family, the Colored Conventions, the Buttonwood and Booker T. Washington schools as well as Black Delaware luminaries. Video will be available on the museum’s Facebook page beginning on Feb. 25, 2022.”

  • Location: John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, DE 19901
  • Date: Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, 2 p.m.
  • Event: Guided visitation of the African burial ground
  • Event Description: “Guided visitation leads participants to the African burial ground which is believed to be the final resting place for enslaved and free Black men, women and children who died on the plantation. Guests will engage with guides about the historical context and archaeological research of the site. Visitors should wear clothing that accounts for current weather conditions. Admission is free but reservations are required by calling 302-739-3277.”

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