Social justice activist remembered in Delaware [video]

The late James Gilliam's portrait is unveiled at the New Castle County Community Service Building that bears his name. (Charlie O'Neill/WHYY)

The late James Gilliam's portrait is unveiled at the New Castle County Community Service Building that bears his name. (Charlie O'Neill/WHYY)

Delaware leaders came together today to honor a man who inspired and influenced many people to fight for social justice.

A portrait of James H. Gilliam Sr., a man who spent a lifetime serving others, now hangs at the entrance of the James H. Gilliam Community Service Building in New Castle County.

Gilliam became the first director of the New Castle County Department of Community Development & Housing and founded the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, which dedicated the painting. Gilliam passed away in September 2015.

“Dad loved the Delaware public and worked tirelessly to make the Delaware community a place for us all,” Patrice Gilliam-Johnson said.

New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon, Rev. Christopher Bullock, Congressman John Carney, Head of Corporate Communications for Bank of America Tony Allen, and Wilmington Council Members attended the event.

“His love for the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and New Castle County, make this gift like passing the proverbial torch. May we each work a little harder and shine a little brighter as a result of it,” Johnson said.

Gilliam legacy also lives on through “The Gilliam Foundation” that was founded in 1998. The charitable organization supports various efforts surrounding education, health, economic empowerment, employment and housing with the African-American Community.

Johnson donated $50,000 to the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League today so leaders there can continue the work.

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