Delaware takes down last whipping post displayed on state grounds

The last whipping post left in the state of Delaware was removed from the grounds of a courthouse Wednesday after protesters decried the history of racial injustice the post symbolized.

A crowd gathered around the post, which has stood near the Old Sussex County Courthouse at the public circle in Georgetown, Delaware, since 1993. Two backhoes worked to pluck it from the grounds as people cheered.

“This is kind of reminiscent for me of a time back in 1938 when I actually saw a man getting whipped at the whipping post in Dover,” 94-year-old Reba Hollingsworth, vice-chair of the Delaware Heritage Commission, said

In 1972, Delaware became the last state to abolish using whipping posts as a 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 old courthouse in 1993.

“Each time I come to Georgetown and see this replica here I remember,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s time for us to put these kinds of things in museums.”

The post’s removal is part of a nationwide reassessment of monuments that represent racism and oppression, fueled by the May death of George Floyd while in police custody and the subsequent protests calling for an end to systemic injustice. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody on Memorial Day after a former Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for over eight minutes.

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs said it was responding to community calls for the post’s removal.



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