Inclusion at Old Swedes

Our Response

We, the Board and staff of Old Swedes Historic Site, express our deep sorrow and outrage over the death of George Floyd, and the senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others. We stand against hate, racism, bigotry, inequality, and intolerance.

For more than seven decades, our organization has studied human behavior as reflected in the actions of Wilmington’s earliest settlers, from the Swedes to the African Americans, as well as later generations who have lived on the East Side. We will continue to examine and speak the truth about America’s past, and move forward with our desire and hope for a better and just future.

We acknowledge that as an institution we can always do more to fulfill our role as part of the East Side Wilmington community and we are committed to doing so. We will demonstrate our commitment to changing the systemic injustices of racism through our actions and programming. We will reach out to our neighbors, community centers, schools and churches, listening and collaborating so real change can happen.

Resources to Understand Racism

Smithsonian Magazine has compiled a resource of 158 articles, videos, podcasts and websites on the history of anti-black violence and inequality in America.

A discussion of the museum field’s response from the American Alliance of Museums.

From the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, an important resource to begin the conversation about race.

Programs for Change

Did you know? Our programming has expanded to be more inclusive and relevant to all members of our community. Our Youth Empowered: Served and Supported @Old Swedes (YESS)program provides a meaningful educational experience for 4th and 5th grade students within the city of Wilmington and surrounding New Castle County. Through previously untold graveyard stories students become “Story Seekers.” They learn about the lives and experiences of a colonial-era free black man, the first female doctor in Delaware, and a suffragist.  Students are given the opportunity to consider the feelings of these real people in relation to their own lives.

Another new initiative is Youth for Human Rights, a social justice project teaching 6-8th graders about the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which aims to inspire students to become activists for real change and a more peaceful world.

We continue to share the complete stories of Old Swedes. The tales of lives and cultures add richness, depth and a greater understanding of our fundamental history inclusive of people of color, immigrants and the Native American indigenous population.

Read more about our educational programming.