Laurel, Delaware — April, 1911

NYT 4-3-1911 articleWho can tell me more about the series of incidents I found mentioned about Laurel, Delaware in 1911 newspapers?  I have not located all of the available newspaper articles, but enough to leave me wondering more about this difficult time in this community in the Spring of 1911, a time long before the better-known Civil Rights period of the 1960s.   Anyone knowing more about this time in Laurel, or can point me to any published accounts of this history, I would love to hear from you.  Also, feel free to contact me by email if you would like complete copies of these newspaper clippings.

SA 4-8-1911 articleThe term race-riot was a wide-spread term in the newspaper media of the time.  And the term would continue to be used in other published accounts of any sort of racial violence or community tensions deemed  significant enough by local newspapers to report.  During my research Sun 4-3-1911 articleof newspapers pertaining to accounts of the Eastern Shore, there were numerous such accounts.  Of course what was reported was not necessarily accurate or indicative of what was really happening.  But they do present a glimpse of something, and usually as a spotlight on a much larger and little-known story.

Why explore such history?  There are any number of reasons, but I feel that we cannot understand other people or ourselves adequately without examining the history of their and our lives and ancestors.  We base our decisions for the future on what we believe, understand, and feel about the past, of what we feel or think to be true.  But if what we know about the past is lacking the full picture or what we know is incorrect, then our decisions and outlooks could be affected, and change is less possible.  How many times have we learned something and thought, “Oh, I didn’t know that” or “I never looked at it that way before”?    I call it historical empathy, and that is an appropriate present to give to future generations.  It it heartening to know we have such a word, empathy — the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.

— Linda Duyer

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