Learning About Slavery and Freedom in Delaware’s Urban Park Without Boundaries

Last Saturday, for an African American Studies course, we ventured down to the Dover Green for some outdoor, experiential learning offered by the First State Heritage Park and the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.  For an hour on that attractive June day, we walked around the Dover Green as a knowledgeable interpreter, Sarah, presented the “Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour.”  Our period attired guide talked about Delaware’s complicated position regarding freedom and slavery and the role of the First State during the Civil War and we were caught up in the lively program .   Along the way, we also heard the story of a brave group of runaway slaves known as the Dover Eight and how they made a daring escape from the Dover jail.

Just before our stroll through the urban park without boundaries that links historical and cultural sites to the subjects we were examining, we’d stepped indoors at the old Delaware State House.  Almost as it the passage through that big door has represented a time machine, our group is in another century as another period attired educator dramatically shared the story of the Underground Railroad. 

 Since the First State Heritage Park was organized as a state park in 2004, I’ve attended many of their programs.  They’re always excellent, the staff is knowledgeable, and these are some of the finest productions in the mid-Atlantics.  It’s the tyupe of program one would expect to travel to Williamsburg for, but that’s not necessary as it’s provided for us right here in Dover.

It’s a great way to present engaging history lessons.  The agencies involved are to be congratulated for producing such these most instructive programs and offering them in lively ways.  The park without boundaries is such a great Delaware resource and does a fine job with a superb staff that links the history and culture of the place that is the capital of the the First State.


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