Activists applaud change as last whipping post is removed in Georgetown
GEORGETOWN, Del. – Historians say the last whipping post in the nation was displayed in Georgetown, that is until Wednesday when history was made as it was taken down.
“This is something that will be passed on to our grand kids, our great grand kids going forward,” says Representative Stephanie T. Bolden, a Democrat for Delaware’s 2nd District.
“It’s mind blowing but it’s also amazing because to know our ancestors had to endure so much heartache and pain,” says Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker, a Democrat for Delaware’s 3rd District.
It was a form of corporal punishment that historians say used to generate countless spectators but the crowd that gathered there on Wednesday was there for a much different reason. “With it being removed we are saying we didn’t agree with things being as inhumane as they were, that we don’t believe people should have to see it every day,” says Dr. Brittany Hazzard, a community activist.
Some people have criticized its removal saying things like “Stop tearing down history,” to which supporters say they’re not trying to do that. “It’s not erasing history. What it is, is actually showing respect to the African American community and to our ancestors,” says Walker.
Other critics have said, “The whipping post was used for everyone, regardless of race. What’s the point?” But historians say the black community was disproportionately affected, adding that it’s time to recognize that.
“There is a sense of freedom and there is a sense of growth that is happening in our community,” says Hazzard.
Officials say the whipping post will be put into storage and then a museum with other historical artifacts including a different whipping post that once stood in Dover. Delaware was the last state in the country to abolish public whippings.
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester commented on the post removal by saying in part, “While it is appropriate for the whipping post to be preserved in an historical context, so that future generations may learn about the barbarous acts committed against Delaware citizens, it is not appropriate to glorify the whipping post through public display.”