Sylvester Woolford (DE)

Woolford’s passion for researching history was inspired by his own family’s past and later extended much beyond his own lineage. His study of historical U.S. Census data, land records, death records, deeds, newspapers and other sources has helped him put together a detailed portrait of what life has been like for black Americans in Delaware before, during, and far beyond the Civil War.

Stories of people like Mary Francis Bacchus, a slave in Middletown who, according to death records, died in 1861 at age 4 from “softening of bones,” help us remember – and hopefully learn from – some of the more somber truths of our state’s history, he said.