AG asked to investigate dispute over Delaware’s African American Heritage Center

Opponents of a plan to have the Delaware Historical Society operate the heritage center want Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden to investigate how the city awarded $1-million for the center.

Former Wilmington Mayor James Sills described the call for an investigation, during a press conference on the steps of Old Town Hall, one of the sites that will be used for the heritage center by the Delaware Historical Society.  Sills says the complaint concerns “irregularities” and possible violations of the state and city’s laws or policies. 

“The city administration used a review process that was secretive, non-transparent, and void of any substantive input from the public at large including our own City Council,” Sills said.  He’s also asking Biden to “enjoin the city from entering into a contract with the Delaware Historical Society until the investigation is complete.”

Sills claims opponents of the DHS were kept out of meetings held by the city to determine where to put the heritage center.  The complaint also claims that a counter proposal from the Afro American Historical Society was ignored.

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But it’s not just the process that Sills and other opponents are upset about.  They also accuse the Delaware Historical Society of being a predominantly white organization that would not be able to properly tell the story of African American history.  “We are here this morning to once again highlight the insensitivity and racist record of the Delaware Historical Society and especially so in relation to the Delaware African American community,” Sills said.

WHYY’s First examined the dispute over the location of the African American Heritage Center earlier this month.  That story, which also looked at the impact PS duPont had on African American education, is posted below.

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