In 1875 the Delaware General Assembly enacted legislation requiring the racial segregation of public places such as train stations, hotels, and restaurants. For most of the next century this practice was strictly enforced. Established at this location in 1959, the Knotty Pine Restaurant was a refuge for African Americans in a city where access to public facilities was still limited.  Noted for its “down home cooking” and friendly atmosphere, the Knotty Pine was popular with residents and visitors alike.  Among the establishment’s many patrons were entertainers Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, and Lena Horne. In 1961 the Wilmington City Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting refusal of service due to race or religion. With the approval of the Public Accommodations Act by the state legislature in 1963, the era of legally segregated public places in Delaware was over.

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The Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at historically significant locations and sites across the state. For more information on this program, please contact Katie Hall at (302) 744-5036 or via email at

LOCATION: 308 E. 11th Street, Wilmington.