African American Cultural Resources Task Force of Delaware

Mission Statement – To develop, categorize, catalogue and maintain a comprehensive inventory of historic African American sites in Delaware for the express purpose of documenting and acknowledging their existence, their significance as a historic place, and their present state of preservation, or the lack thereof. By compiling such a data base, members of the African American Cultural Resources Task Force of Delaware will be able to prioritize a list for preservation assistance, as well as showcasing African American historic places to the public.

Immediate Goals

  1. Gather and constitute a working group of at least 10 people to serve as the core group for this task force initiative.
  2. Review all existing databases (principally the cultural resources list) maintained by County and State Agencies, and the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), to determine the current status of African American historical resources in the state.
  3. Divide the group into five primary gathering sub-groups:
    a)  historic schools
    b)  churches/places of worship
    c)  burial grounds/cemeteries
    d)  homes and businesses of historic and/or significant African American figures
    e)  slave quarters, tenant farm sites, and sites shared with or exclusive to Delaware tribes
  4. Concurrent with step #2, create a list of agencies, organizations and individuals with links to African American sites, past and present.
  5. Triage this list into three major categories, or in categories other agencies have established:
    a)  adequately maintained site
    b)  site in need of preservation help
    c)  an endangered site
  6. Finally, within a 6-month period, select a director for the task force, 6 months to 1 year hire a minimum of 2 part-time administrative assistants, constitute a list of preservation projects able to be completed within 0-2 yrs., 2-3 yrs., and 3-5 yrs. Affix a budget for each year category, with emphasis on the first year’s budget.

Long-Term Goals 

  1. Establish a realistic long-term plan for restoration, funding and preservation of an approved list of AA historic preservation sites.
  2. Determine measures that may be applied to mitigate or ameliorate deterioration to the approved list of sites vulnerable to neglect and deterioration due to insufficient funds, inappropriate development, and/or public policy.
  3. Establish an advocacy group to review scheduled demolitions, demolitions by neglect, and/or self-serving Ordinances that occur within our target areas without public knowledge or input. Also, have advocacy groups work with state and local officials to develop ordinances that may protect against unwarranted demolitions.
  4. Establish an Annual Awards Ceremony to acknowledge and showcase those who have done tireless, commendable and committed work on behave of preserving African American historic places.
  5. Designate a standing committee to monitor and maintain our list of AA historic places in coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) as a concerted effort to keep the list as current and evolving as possible.

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