On Friday, it was reported that the historical marker recognizing the lynching of George White, unveiled just over a month ago, was stolen from Greenbank Park on Kirkwood Highway.
The historical marker appeared to have been pulled out of the ground, leaving a hole where it once stood. According to officials at the Delaware Public Archives who oversee historical markers in the state, the concrete footing that secured the marker in the ground would have made the sign extremely heavy and hard to remove. Officials from the Public Archives estimated a replacement would cost $2,205, including fabrication and installation.
State Sen. Darius Brown, who had originally sponsored the marker, released the following statement this morning on his Facebook page:
“As I’m sure most of you are aware, someone recently stole The Lynching of George White historical marker that was placed in Greenbank Park a little over a month ago. Mr. White’s death was a horrific act of racial terror, and this marker was created specifically to help us remember and confront that horrific injustice so we can begin to move forward. I will not allow the cowardly and criminal theft of that historical marker to stifle those efforts. And based on the number of phone calls and emails I received over the weekend, I know many of you are looking for a way to show your support as well. So let’s stand up, as a community, and own this part of our history together. I’ve reached out to the Delaware Public Archives and they are willing to collect donations to fund the replacement of our marker. This is an opportunity to quickly replace this stolen marker in a way that demonstrates our solidarity and resolve.
I hope you’ll join me in contributing whatever small amounts you can.
Please make out a check or money order to “The State of Delaware” and note that the funds are for the George White Historical Marker. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. North, Dover, DE 19901.“
Senator Brown first sponsored the marker after being informed about it by a local high school student, Savannah Shepard. She was inspired to contact Senator Brown after visiting the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama – the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the roughly 4,300 documented racial terror lynchings of African Americans between the end of the Civil War and the end of World War II. Shepherd founded the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition and worked to get a historical marker placed in the area where White was killed. She approached Sen. Brown, who agreed to cover the cost of the marker and advance her efforts.
Her family released the following statement after the marker was stolen: “We are very saddened and disappointed to hear about the historical marker,” the Shepherd family said in a statement. “We aren’t drawing any conclusions today about who took the sign, how, or why. But we do wish we could engage in a conversation with whoever did this and we strongly believe that, with some level of understanding about why this marker and this history matters to us, all of this could have been avoided.”
We are in a cold yet warming Civil War. Racists and white supremacists are emboldened every day to take terroristic actions due to the presence of a white supremacist in the White House. So we all who oppose racism and white supremacy have to be equally strong in fighting back. I just donated $100 towards the replacement of the marker. Join me.
Why does Wilmington allow blatant symbols of racism and the genocide of people of color to exist? Columbus, who isn’t even American, has a massive statue along a major route in and out of the city. Would we allow a statue of Hitler who also committed genocide? I have posed the question to Hanifa who seemed supportive during her campaign but hasn’t responded since.