Don Rush

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked protests across country that has led the nation to focus on racism in America. Delmarva Public Radio Essay George Merrill writes we may be seeing a turning point for the country.

Salisbury University

Salisbury University will be implementing new initiatives to up diversity and inclusion.

The move comes after racist language was found in a building last November.

The incident spurred anger by university students who felt the institution had not done enough to deal with the issues.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that University President Charles Wright announced the creation of a new position do focus on diversity on campus.

In addition, a special task force will be formed that will be made up of students, faculty, staff and community leaders.


Expect new restrictions on Middletown’s Hummer’s Parade in the wake of a float last year that mocked undocumented immigrants in cages.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the float created a backlash with town officials saying the has been “haphazardly thrown together by the participants.

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - William & Mary has received a $1 million grant to help fund research into the legacy of slavery and racism at the school in Virginia as well as at the estate of fifth U.S. President James Monroe.

The university in Williamsburg said in a statement Wednesday that the grant comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

William & Mary said the five-year grant will fund several initiatives. They include genealogy work as well as an oral history project documenting stories of descendants of enslaved men and women.

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - An interim black Virginia police chief says she hasn't experienced racism in the department her predecessor resigned from last week.

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports interim Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene spoke at a public forum on Wednesday and said she didn't know Tonya Chapman was going to resign or what led to it.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore has apologized for a past admission policy that barred black students.

The Baltimore Sun reports school President Samuel Hoi publicly apologized Thursday in a memo that detailed some of the school's racist history. The memo says the school was forced by "legal appointment" in 1891 to admit its first black student, which reportedly led to about 100 students dropping out.

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POTOMAC, Md. (AP) - Students at a high school in a Washington suburb of Maryland have been caught distributing passes that gave the bearer permission to use a racial slur for black people.

According to police data and school officials, Winston Churchill High School has been the site of multiple bias-related incidents since the 2016 school year, including a swastika drawn on a desk just days before the passes were exchanged. Citing statements from principal Brandice Heckert, WJLA-TV reports students participated in the distribution of the paper passes during Friday's lunch period.


NEW YORK (AP) - The racist photo on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's yearbook page wasn't the only thing that disgusted Monifa Bandele. She was especially appalled that the image was published as he was graduating from medical school on his way to become a pediatrician.

The 1984 photo has stirred a national political furor and reopened the long history of bigotry in American medicine. The revelations about Northam gave many African-Americans a new reason to be distrustful of doctors.

Virginia Festival of the Book

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The annual "Virginia Festival of the Book" will feature writers on racism, climate change, crime and the opioid crisis.

The schedule for the March 20-24 festival includes more than 100 programs that are free and open to the public. The program of Virginia Humanities is celebrating its 25th year of bringing writers and readers together to promote books, reading, literacy and literary culture.

Renowned meditation teacher Ruth King will discuss racism, white supremacy and identity.


NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A sorority chapter at a Virginia university is under review after allegations that members engaged in racist behavior.

A university spokesman says the national Alpha Phi sorority organization ordered its chapter at Old Dominion University to "cease its activities."

News outlets report the allegations emerged Wednesday when a Twitter user posted several tweets, saying sorority members used racist language online and belittled a black member. In one tweet, a white woman is shown holding a certificate that says "blackest white you'll ever meet."

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Posters were found by University of Delaware campus police which read, “It’s okay to be white.”

They were discovered in a number of locations.

And the Anti-Defamation League says they appear to be part of a trolling campaign started by 4chan users.

The University issued a statement saying that the campaign is an effort to pit people against one another.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that many students were unaware of the posters but told the paper that such a message is not welcome on campus.

scott walker

The Republican nominee for Delaware’s lone House seat Scott Walker has accused the state’s Democratic congressional delegation and its governor of being racist.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that he took aim at Delaware’s first African American congressional member Lisa Blunt-Rochester calling her an “Aunt Tom”.

During a long rant he called the state’s senior Senator Tom Carper who is running for reelection a “redneck” and described former Vice President Joe Biden as a “racist loser.”

Campus Report

It was an effort to spark dialogue with students in the aftermath of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last year.

But the “Pyramid of White Supremacy” graphic used for a diversity class at Salisbury University has sparked controversy.

It’s a one credit-course for those majoring in elementary education.

Professor Erin Stutelberg says that she didn’t want her students to see white supremacy only through the eyes of groups like the KKK.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Confederate statue in Virginia has been vandalized for the second night in a row.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the word "racist" was again found spray-painted in red on the base of the Jefferson Davis statue in Richmond on Wednesday morning, this time joined by the words "Ban KKK." The word "racist" was found in the same spot Tuesday, before being cleaned.
The latest vandalism is the third such incident in the state this week, after "#2 BETTER LUCK NEVER" was spray-painted on a memorial to the Confederate dead in Norfolk on Monday.

governor's office

(AP) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has created a new commission to study racism and radicalization and what policy changes can be made to make the state more inclusive.

The commission is part of the governor's response to the deadly Aug. 12 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

McAuliffe signed the executive order Thursday creating the commission. His office has not yet announced who will be part of the new group.

The commission is also tasked with hosting events to "promote a public dialogue on unity and reconciliation."

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Student leaders at dozens of U.S. universities are decrying the weekend violence in Virginia in a statement that says campuses should be safe for students, not "places of violence, hate and racism."

The statement signed by the undergraduate student body president at Ohio State University and his counterparts at more than 120 schools in 34 states and Washington, D.C., stretching from California to Florida and New Jersey.

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - State Democratic leaders have called for a House of Delegates candidate in Virginia Beach to drop out of the race after recent revelations of racist statements.
Media outlets report the House Democratic Caucus issued a news release Tuesday calling for Tom Brock to drop out of a June 13 primary for the 21st District seat. The caucus also released a screenshot of a 2011 Facebook conversation, where Brock made several racist statements.

Don Rush

As Donald Trump is about to take the oath of office around thirty-two organizations yesterday joined together to form the new Delaware Civil Rights Coalition.

The aim of the organization is to bring together civil rights and religious groups from all three counties.

And they will deal with issues involving women, Muslims, African Americans and the LGBT community.

But formation of the group comes in the wake of the contentious presidential campaign in which charges of sexism and racism permeated the political battle.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's lieutenant governor is coming under fire for a comment about recent acts of racism and hatred in the state.

Local news media outlets report that Republican Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford has been criticized for saying in a tweet that hate is not "new" and that he would rather people "show their real colors than hide."

Rutherford's tweet was in response to state Democratic Sen. Cheryl Kagan. Kagan was criticizing Rutherford for not linking an uptick in race-based incidents to the election of Donald Trump.


Frustration has boiled over with a group of Delaware’s African American leaders who have been dissatisfied with the response by Governor Jack Markell to allegations of racism in state government.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Delaware Faith in Action Coalition said last week that they have lost faith in Markell to confront the issue.

Over the last year the group has gotten testimony from around 200 state workers of color who claim that they have faced discrimination.


DOVER, Del. (AP) - Students at Wesley College in Dover have expressed outrage over two racially charged cartoons that appeared in the student newspaper last week.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that one of the cartoons depicted an African-American woman saying she was getting an abortion. The other depicted a black man telling a gardening tool it looked "like a hoe."

Tiffany Griffin, a Wesley senior, said the anger over the cartoons spread over social media.

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Salisbury University officials say it was African American students who were involved in a recent racist drawing on the campus.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the university confirmed the students were black but did not release their names citing federal law.

The image was discovered in the Blackwell Library on April 10th of a stick figure being hung accompanied by a racial slur.

It also had "#whitepower" underneath.

school website

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (AP) - A satirical essay by a high school student in Glen Burnie that calls for the destruction of black people is stirring outrage in the community.

In a North County High School class, a teacher recently assigned students to write a satirical essay modeled after "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift - a 1729 essay mocking heartless attitudes toward the less fortunate.

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A conversation last night at Theatre N in Wilmington found a panel examining the health impacts of racism.

At the gathering Marlene Saunders, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers Delaware Chapter, said that racism has a physical impact.

She said there were studies that showed the ramifications included high blood pressure and other heart related problems.

Meanwhile, Dr. Camara Jones, president of the American Public Health Association, said that racism also had an impact on the kind of health care people receive.

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There was a protest of around 25 people outside Governor Jack Markell’s office in downtown Wilmington.

It was held by the NAACP and black ministers who called on the governor to act in response to the widespread allegations of racism in state government.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Reverend Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church said there should be zero tolerance such behavior.

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There’s a recommendation that the Delaware Department of Labor be overhauled in the wake of an investigation that found allegations of racism and an unhealthy work environment.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that it has learned under a Freedom of Information Act request that the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget has called for changes to deal with a lack of professionalism and cultural insensitivity.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture

Ruth Starr Rose painted what are considered to be some of the most significant portraits of an African American family on the Eastern Shore. A white woman who lived in Talbot County she rendered these paintings and images at a time when Jim Crow was in full swing. In part 2 of our series Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush explores the activism in her art and her work as one of the most significant artists to depict the stories of Negro spirituals. Her work is on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore through April 3rd.


The new Labor Secretary in Delaware has gotten high praise from a coalition of ministers and the NAACP after accusations have swirled around agency of racist atmosphere in the agency.

Patrice Gilliam-Johnson is African American and has known Governor Jack Markell for decades.

She is chairwoman of the Organizational Dynamics program at Wilmington University.

The appointment comes after 73 year-old John McMahon announced his retirement as his agency faced accusations of racism in a report by the coalition of ministers.


Delaware Labor Secretary John McMahon is stepping down amidst allegations of workplace racism in his agency.

He announced yesterday that he will be retiring at the age of 73.

The issue of racism in Delaware state government has gotten the attention of Governor Jack Markell who recently received a report by African American leaders that found state employees complaining of a racially hostile environment.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Markell is expected to name a replacement in the coming days and he praised him for his work during the Great Recession.

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Discrimination against state employees was the subject of a closed door meeting yesterday between Governor Jack Markell and a coalition of Delaware leaders from the African American community.

They presented him with a report drawn from testimony by state employees that says there is rampant racism within state government.

The Wilmington News Journal says that the report makes six recommendations on how agencies deal with discrimination in the office.

Last year, the group took testimony from around a 100 state workers across Delaware.