City of Wilmington Hosts Re-Dedication Ceremony for Peter Spencer Plaza

Posted on  02/25/2014 3:31 pm

Photo of Peter Spencer Plaza Memorial

On Friday, February 28, 2014, the City of Wilmington will host the official re-dedication ceremony for the newly renovated Peter Spencer Plaza. Mayor Dennis P. Williams will also join other City officials in the ceremonial signing of City Council’s resolution to officially re-establish the Wilmington Civil Rights Commission.

“During Black History Month we honor and recognize the contributions of African Americans across the country, but we must also take the opportunity to honor those who directly impacted our community,” said Mayor Williams. “Peter Spencer was not only a pioneer for African Americans but people of all races, and this renovation has transformed the plaza to be more attractive as a place for employees and community members to come visit.”

Peter Spencer founded the first independent, African American church in the United States. The church was located in Wilmington, Delaware. Born a slave in Kent County, Maryland, Spencer (1779-1843) was freed following the death of his master and came to Wilmington, where he joined the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1805, upset by the church’s treatment of blacks, he and roughly 40 others walked out and formed their own congregation. They continued to associate with the denomination until further interference by the white congregation led to the creation of the African Union Methodist Protestant Church (A.U.M.P.) in 1813.

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which spearheaded the renovation of Peter Spencer Plaza, dedicated $978,566 to updating pavers, improving maintenance features, adding new benches, planting trees, adding a new rain garden and storm water run-off system, and improving the landscaping features. Claude McCrea, the Director of Parks and Recreation, stated, “Peter Spencer Plaza is a historic landmark for the City of Wilmington, as he remains such a prominent figure in the history of the City. Under the vision of Mayor Williams, we wanted to transform the plaza into a beautiful place for everyone to enjoy.”

The re-dedication ceremony will also feature Mayor Williams signing of City Council’s resolution authorizing the re-establishment of the Wilmington Civil Rights Commission. The Wilmington Civil Rights Commission will be charged with securing freedom from discrimination for all individuals within Wilmington because of age, color, creed, mental or physical disability, familial status (including source of income), gender identity, national origin or ancestry, marital status, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. The anti-discrimination process would cover areas such as employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and credit.

The re-dedication ceremony will be on Friday, February 28th at 12:00 p.m. located across from the Louis L. Redding City/County Building, 800 North French Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801.