Blunt Rochester Statement on the Removal of the Georgetown Whipping Post
WASHINGTON - Today, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) issued the following statement on the removal of the whipping post in Georgetown, Delaware.
“As our country has grappled with a racial reckoning over these past weeks, I have done a great deal of reflection on the vestiges of systemic racism that we see in our own state. There are few that illicit the visceral pain of subjugation more than the whipping post in Georgetown. It is important to note that unlike some of the statues and monuments whose presence we have debated recently, the whipping post is not a reminder of history centuries gone by.
The last public whipping in Delaware took place in 1952. The practice was still legal until 1972 when I was 10 years old and Delaware finally became the last state to outlaw the practice. Indeed, there are those still with us in our community who bore witness to that inhumane practice on public streets and town squares from Dover, to Milford, to Georgetown. Robert Caldwell, a former professor at the University of Delaware, found that 68 percent of those beaten were Black during a period when Black people made up less than 20 percent of the state's population. 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.
I want to thank Secretary of State, Jeff Bullock, Historical & Cultural Affairs Director, Tim Slavin for their removal of the post - but I want to especially thank Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, Jane Hovington of the Delaware NAACP, Dr. Brittany Hazzard, Diaz Bonville and so many in the community who raised their collective voices to advocate for the removal of the whipping post.
Our work to address systemic and institutional racism in this country will be an arduous task. We must work to address both the substance and the symbols of our historic oppression and we must deconstruct those vestiges of racism as intentionally as they were constructed. And as we deconstruct those vestiges, we find in their absence a space for reconciliation and path forward paved with justice for all.”