by Suzy Casey

February is Black History Month and it’s time to celebrate, educate, and enjoy. New Castle County is offering a wide variety of events reflecting on the past and the present. Find out your genealogy, dream of being a prima ballerina, grab a front row seat for the award winning step performances, let the Twin Poets inspire you, love the skin you’re in and much, much more.

Black History Month, Special Program: A Salute to Black Greek

New Castle County will kick off its month-long celebration of Black History Month with a special community event Saturday, February 4 at 10:30 a.m. at the Walnut Street YMCA, at 1000 North Walnut Street in Wilmington. A Salute to Black Greek Heritage and Life features performances from local youth organizations and Delaware collegiate chapters of sororities and fraternities. Members of the “Divine Nine”, the nine historically Black Greek letter organizations (BGLOs) that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council, will be on hand to share stories and educate the public about these Greek Letter organizations.

Program includes speakers, step performances, and refreshments. Presented by New Castle County, the African American Heritage Center, Afro-American Historical Society of Delaware and the Walnut Street YMCA Black Achievers. All ages. FREE

“Black History Month provides an important opportunity to draw attention to the immeasurable contributions of African Americans to our communities, civic life, and culture,” said County Executive Matthew Meyer. “We invite all members of the public to attend our celebration of Black Greek Life on February 4 and to participate in other events across our County throughout the month that honor our African American heritage.”

For more information, visit

More Black History Month Programs at your Local Library…

Family Movie “Our Friend, Martin”

“Our Friend, Martin,” rated TV-G, is about two teens sent back in time to meet Martin Luther King Jr. At several points of his life. Discussion and refreshments follow. Bring canned food for the Delaware Food Bank as a service day donation. This program is recommended for family viewing, ages 8+ with a caregiver. FREE

Tuesday, February 14, 6-7:45 p.m., Elsmere Library

Voices from the Past

Friends of the African Union Church Cemetery share the story of the once-forgotten cemetery and the local United States colored troops buried there. Living historian and presenter Willis Phelps brings to life Private James Elbert, who served with the USCT during the Civil War. Adults. FREE

  • Wednesday, February 1, 6:30-7:30 p.m, Appoquinimink Library, register (302) 378-5588
  • Tuesday, February 7, 6-7 p.m., Woodlawn Library, register (302) 571-7425
  • Thursday, February 9, 3-4 p.m.. North Wilmington Library, register (302) 761-4290
  • Saturday, February 11, 2-3 p.m., Newark Free Library, register (302) 731-7550
  • Wednesday, February 15, 6-7 p.m., Delaware City Library
  • Thursday, February 16, 6:30-8 p.m., New Castle Public Library

Black Greek Life

Meet the Panhellenic Council and learn what they and member societies have to be proud of. Hear about the history and heroic deeds of members and what these Greek Letter Organizations do today. Program includes Q&A session. Teens/adults. FREE

  • Thursday, February 9, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Elsmere Library
  • Saturday, February 11, 2-3 p.m., Brandywine Hundred Library
  • Thursday, February 16, 6-7:30 p.m., Claymont Library
  • Saturday, February 18, 2-3 p.m., Newark Free Library, register (302) 761-7550
  • Saturday, February 25, 2-3 p.m., Woodlawn Library, register (302) 571-7425
  • Saturday, February 25, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Kirkwood Library

Teen Movie Night: “A Race to Freedom”

Enjoy “A Race to Freedom,” a moving film about the sacrifices African-Americans made to escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Snacks provided. Ages 12-17. FREE

Wednesday, February 1, 6-8 p.m., Bear Library

The Harlem Hellfighters and African-America Soldiers of WWI

Experience what 350,000 African-American soldiers serving in France in World War I did. Men of “The Fighting 8th” fought to get into the war then fought to get credit for their heroic acts in combat. Historian Syl Woolford celebrates the 100th anniversary of American involvement in the war to end all wars. Teens/Adults. FREE

Wednesday, February 1, 7-8:30 p.m., Brandywine Hundred Library

Saturday, February 25, 1-2 p.m., Bear Library, register (302) 838-3300

Guest Author: Daneya Jacobs “I Love Your Brown”

Daneya Jacobs, author of “I Love Your Brown”, is celebrating Black History Month with a reading of her book. Children can make a craft after the reading. Ages 3+. FREE

Friday, February 3, 10:15-11 a.m, Appoquinimink Library

Saturday, February 25, 12-1 p.m., Bear Library

Black History Month: From Africa to the Americas

This is a journey from Africa to the Americas using music, song, dance and stories as mediums highlighting the similarities between traditional African culture and African-influenced culture in the Americas. Audience participation is a must as this is a village-oriented presentation. Presented by Kamau Ngom with the Delaware humanities forum. All ages. FREE

Saturday, February 4, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Claymont Library

A Colored Woman in a White World

Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree and, as a classics major at Oberlin college, was a black woman among mostly white male students. Historian Syl Woolford discusses this extraordinary, history-shaping woman. All ages. FREE

Saturday, February 4, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Kirkwood Library

The Lincolns: The Great Emancipator and His Family

Among the most consequential marriages in American history, Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd made a life and raised a family amid the whirlwind of our nation’s greatest crisis. Delaware humanities forum’s Daniel Pritchett presents. Registration requested. Teens/adults. FREE.

Sunday, February 5, 2-3 p.m., Bear Library, register (302) 838-3300

Story Time: Anansi the Spider

Listen to the wonderful story of “Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti,” then enjoy crafts to celebrate Black History month. All ages. FREE

Tuesday, February 7, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Garfield Park Lending Library 

The Remarkable Solomon and Thamar Bayley, ca. 1770-1839

Follow the excitement, tension, disappointment and joy of this amazing couple on their Journey from enslavement to freedom on the Delmarva Peninsula and in Africa. A Delaware humanities forum program. Registration required. Teens/adults. FREE

Tuesday, February 7, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Hockessin Library, register (302) 239-5160

2nd Lieutenant Henry Ossian Flipper

At age 21, Henry Ossian Flipper became the first African-American graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and became the first African-American commissioned officer in the regular U.S. Army. Historian Syl Woolford presents the story of this extraordinary man who served his country with honor and fought injustice tenaciously. All ages. FREE

Wednesday, February 8, 7-8 p.m., Kirkwood Library

The Twin Poets

Join the Twin Poets, Delaware’s Poets Laureate, as they awaken your spirit through arts and ideas. Al Mills and Nnamdi Chukwuocha have won many awards and grants for not only their written and spoken word, but also for their work in the community. Teens/adults. FREE

Wednesday, February 8, 7-8 p.m., Woodlawn Library

Thursday, February 9, 6-7 p.m., Claymont Library

Delaware Underground Railroad Stories

What was it like to seek freedom on the Underground Railroad? Brave men and women, both enslaved and free, made this region one of the most successful routes to freedom in the years before the civil war. Using the accounts of John Tillman and others, Delaware Historical Society Helps you experience what they experienced. Registration requested. Teens/adults and kids with a caregiver. FREE

Saturday, February 11, 2-4 p.m., Bear Library, register (302) 838-3300

Family Craft Time

Enjoy hands-on activities that engage the entire family in arts and crafts that celebrate the lives and culture of African-Americans past and present. All ages. FREE

Saturday, February 11, 2-3 p.m., Claymont Library 

Tools for Tracing African-American Genealogy

Using Your Library to Research Your Genealogy

Volunteers from Delaware Afro-American historical and genealogical society help you learn to use the resources at your library to begin your family history research in this hands-on genealogy introduction. Bring a flash drive. Include your email when registering to receive class notes to help you prepare. Space is limited. Registration required. Teens/adults. FREE

Saturday, February 11. 2-3 p.m., Woodlawn Library, register (302) 571-7425

Saturday, February 18, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Bear Library, register (302) 838-3300

Tracing Your African-American Roots

The journey starts here! Discover resources for researching your family history and genealogy. Presented by Angela Rodesky, professional genealogist. Registration required. Adults. FREE

Saturday, February 18, 2-4 p.m., Appoquinimink Library, register (302) 378-5588 

African-American Research Strategies

Historian Syl Woolford presents tips on African-American genealogy research. Adults. FREE

Tuesday, February 21, 1-2 p.m., Elsmere Library

Stealing Freedom on the Mason/Dixon Line

Historian, author and educator Milt Diggins relates true stories of local slave hunter Thomas McCreary and others who helped fuel the national divide that led up to the Civil War. All ages. FREE

Saturday, February 11, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Kirkwood Library

Battling for the Ballot: A Unique First State Story

Until recent times, voting was reserved for white male property owners. Join historian Mike Dixon and the Delaware humanities forum to explore what has again become a hotly debated topic following the gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Who gets to vote in America and at what price? Registration requested. Teens/adults. FREE

Sunday, February 12, 2-3 p.m., Bear Library, register (302) 838-3300 

Discovering the Origin of the Iron Hill Community

Historian Syl Woolford discusses the African-American iron hill community near Newark. This genealogy research project is beneficial to anyone doing genealogy research in Delaware and gives incredible insight into Delaware’s African-American history. Registration required. Adults. Wilmington library

Wednesday, February 15, 6-7 p.m., Wilmington Library, register (302) 571-7400 

The CRISIS in World War I

The NAACP magazine, The CRISIS, sent W.E.B. Du Bois to France at the end of WWI to see how Negro troops had been treated during the war. Historian Syl Woolford focuses on the Negroes’ struggle for earning first-class citizenship in the United States. Registration required. Adults. FREE

Saturday, February 18, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Hockessin Library, register (302) 239-5160

Delaware’s Stops Along the Underground Railroad

Through the “language of quilts,” Barbara Cumberbatch takes us on an interactive tour of the Underground Railroad in Delaware. Secret messages in the form of quilt patterns helped slaves escape the bonds of captivity in the southern states before and during the American Civil War. Learn about important figures in the Underground Railroad network, such as Harriet Tubman and Wilmington Quaker Thomas Garrett. All ages. FREE

Saturday, February 18, 2-3 p.m., Claymont Library

Delaware Black History Past and Present

Dr. James Newton traces the history of African-Americans in Delaware from the colonial era to modern times. A Delaware Humanities Forum program. Registration required. Teens/adults. FREE

Sunday, February 19. 1:30-2:30 p.m., Hockessin Library, register (302) 239-5160

Tahira: Storyteller

Tahira performs “The Gift of Stories,” stories of hope and humor, triumph and tragedy drawn from a diverse repertoire of original works and those based on West African oral tradition. Registration required. All ages welcome.

Sunday, February 19, 2-3 p.m., Woodlawn Library, register (302) 871-7425

Special Movie: “A Ballerina’s Tale”

Celebrate Black History Month by watching “A ballerina’s tale,” a documentary about African-American ballerina Misty Copeland. Ages 13+. FREE

Wednesday, February 22, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Elsmere Library

Tuesday, February 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Kirkwood Library 

Black Heritage Trivia Night

Test your knowledge about black history in a challenging trivia contest with friends and family. Ages 12-18. FREE

Tuesday, February 28, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Elsmere Library