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To celebrate the Bicentennial of America’s struggle for freedom from England, the Delaware American Revolution Bicentennial Commission was created in 1972. Its nine gubernatorially appointed members were permitted to engage the services of an Executive Director. Together, they were to prepare and implement a program to commemorate the event; to plan, encourage, develop and coordinate all observances and activities connected with the event; to facilitate tie-ins with the National Commission, similar organizations in neighboring states, and any local organizations planning like events; and to exercise full powers in entering contracts and agreements or making expenditures to ensure a rewarding celebration.1

By March 31, 1972 the Commission was to present a report to the Governor and the General Assembly specifying:

a. The production, publication, and distribution of any books, pamphlets, or films highlighting the era.

b. Sponsorship of any conferences, lectures, or seminars.

c. The establishment of any permanent memorials or exhibits.

d. All ceremonies, celebrations, programs, and activities.

e. The issuance of any commemorative medals, seals, certificates, or the like.

f. Recommend subsequent legislation felt necessary to facilitate completion of the Commission’s goals.

g. Recommend appropriate sites for commemorative activities and any subsequent permanent memorials or monuments.2

The Commission was accorded the full cooperation of all State agencies, especially the school districts, in accomplishing their goals. In 1975, they received an additional appropriation of $200,000 to meet those goals.3

The Commission was originally scheduled to terminate on December 31, 1978. However, shortly before its demise, the General Assembly was convinced that there was sufficient need to continue the existing organization and its membership into the following decade as the Bicentennial of the Ratification of the United States Constitution approached. Thus the DARBC was reconstructed as the Delaware Heritage Commission.4

Originally, the Commission was comprised of nine gubernatorially appointed citizens, one of whom was chosen as chairman.5 A full-time Executive Director was to be engaged to direct the Commission’s activities. The Commission’s duties were many and far-reaching:

a. Plan, encourage, develop, coordinate, and implement observances and activities pertaining to Delaware’s liberty and independence and significant events of Delaware’s history in the years preceding or following the Ratification of the Constitution.

b. Participate with any similar national organizations in the planning of mutually beneficial events.

c. Emphasize and promote the ideas of the American Revolution and independence.

d. Make recommendations and proposals for the commitment of any future private or government funding.

e. Cooperate with any State historical and governmental agencies and especially the heads of educational institutions to further the ideas previously mentioned.

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f. Submit to the Governor and General Assembly each year a formal report outlining and detailing all its activities for the previous year, specifying types of publications issued; conferences, seminars, and other projects; any funded projects; development of any exhibits or memorials; programs and activities highlighting America democracy; and the issuance of any medals, seals, or certificates.6

The legislation creating the DHC stipulated that the Commission would cease to exist on December 31, 1990.

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1 58 DL, ch. 179.

2 Ibid.

3 60 DL, ch. 181.

4 61 DL, ch. 319.

5 In 1985, 65 DL, ch. 25 raised the membership to fifteen.

6 61 DL, ch. 319.

jrf/April 26, 1988; rewrite/add on June 2, 1988; July 25, 1988; January 3, 1989