Delaware City removes spanking post that was once used to punish blacks from public square

A swagger in a Delaware public square was withdrawn on Wednesday after historians and activists denounced its presence as a reminder of systemic racism and injustice.

A crowd has gathered around the post, which has been located near the Old Sussex County Courthouse in the public circle in Georgetown, Delaware, since 1993. Two backhoes worked to rip it off the ground while people cheered.

“This reminds me of a time in 1938, when I really saw a man being flogged at the shake station in Dover,” said Reba Hollingsworth, 94-year-old vice chair of the Delaware Heritage Commission. video of the event.

Flogging publication previously shown in Georgetown, Sussex

In 1972 Delaware became the last state to abolish the use of spanking as state punishment. The Georgetown post was used until 1952, according to the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

It was established sometime after 1931 at the Sussex Correctional Institution south of Georgetown and moved to the former courthouse in 1993.

“Every time I come to Georgetown and see this replica here, I remember it,” said Hollingsworth. “It’s time for us to put this kind of thing in museums.”

The removal of the post is part of a nationwide reassessment of monuments representing racism and oppression, fueled by the death of George Floyd in May while in police custody and subsequent protests calling for an end to systemic injustice. The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs said it was responding to calls from the community for the removal of the post.

According to a 1947 historical text, “Red Hannah: Delaware Whipping Post,” most of those punished at the Georgetown post were black. Robert Graham Caldwell’s book called the punishment “barbaric” and tried to demonstrate, by the prevalence of recidivism, that it was not effective.

According to the book, the most common category of crime punished on the job was petty theft.

The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs plans to store it, where it will share space with a Dover publication. It could be slated for a museum setting in the future, the division said in a statement.

“It is appropriate that such an item be preserved in the state’s collections, so that future generations can see it and try to understand the full context of its historical significance,” division director Tim Slavin said in the statement.

“Another thing is to allow a smoothie publication to stay in place along a busy public street: a cold, expressionless display that doesn’t adequately explain the traumatic legacy it represents, and that still resonates among communities of color in our state. “

Georgetown leaders are also under pressure to remove a monument dedicated to Delaware Confederate soldiers that was erected in the city in 2007. A petition from urging the Georgetown Historical Society to remove the monument and its Confederate flag has more than 3,000 signatures.

The monument cost historical society more than $ 14,000 in funding last year after state lawmakers did not want to be seen supporting organizations that “celebrate the Confederacy and the traitors who fought for its failed racist ideology of hatred and slavery” Delaware Online reported.