Reconstructing Delaware’s Free Black Communities, 1800-1870

The current study, conducted by CHAD and funded by the National Park Service through the URCD, initially began with two straight-forward research objectives: 1) to uncover the role of free black communities in the Underground Railroad in Delaware, and 2) to identify the use of water routes to escape from or through the state. As the project evolved, several more goals were added, reflecting some of the issues and complications encountered during the research. These objectives focused primarily on the research methodologies developed in conjunction with the initial goals: 3) to create a methodology for the study of free black communities in Delaware; 4) to develop a strategy for mapping the known data about free black communities and UGRR routes through Delaware; and 5) to identify a list of further research needs. This report is broken into several sections that reflect these objectives. First, the introduction includes a detailed explanation of the methodology developed to study free black communities, as well as identification of some of the common problems with the process and the biasesof the records available. Second, the section on free black communities provides both an overview for the patterns seen across the state and a series of case studies that explore the particular circumstances of five different communities. Each of the case studies addresses the particular issues related to the methodology and sources for that location. The results of the mapping research are incorporated into the overview discussion of free black communities and into a separate section discussing potential routes for freedom-seekers.A final section addresses areas of future research needs.
Red Lion Hundred, Delaware, East Dover Hundred, Delaware, Lewes Hundred, Delaware, Rehobeth Hundred, Delaware, Little Creek Hundred, Delaware