Wilmington recognizes local woman for Black History Month [video]

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

In celebration of Black History Month, Wilmington residents and city leaders came together to pay homage to the first African American woman to serve on Wilmington City Council.

On Monday, officials unveiled a marker commemorating Hattie Phelan’s achievement. Phelan was first appointed to the council in 1967 to fill a mid-term vacancy. According to officials that was just the beginning for Phelan who was later re-elected for two more four-year terms. Leaders said Phelan’s accomplishments pushed many others to make history, paving the way for the state’s first African–American Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester and Henrietta Johnson who became the first African American woman elected to the State House of Representatives.

The list goes on with Senator Margaret Rose Henry breaking barriers in the State Senate. Most recently, Hanifa Shabazz became the first African-American woman elected President of Wilmington City Council and Velda Jones-Potter elected as the first African-American woman elected as the City Treasurer.

The marker is inside a garden near 10th and Pine Streets. April Taylor, Phelan’s granddaughter said she was overwhelmed with joy.

“It is an amazing honor for our family to have the plaque here in honor of our grandmother especially during Black History Month. I think it will bring a lot of light into the community and give people a reason to maybe explore and find out more of what she did,” Taylor said.

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