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Date Posted: Thursday, January 24th, 2013

On February 2 at 10:30 a.m., the Delaware Public Archives will, as part of its celebration of African American History month, be hosting a program by Syl Woolford of Newark entitled “The History of Black Methodism in Delaware.”

John Wesley, in his vision of the Methodist Episcopal Church, established a denomination in which all human beings were considered equal. When his disciples Francis Asbury, Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Coke came to America to convert the early Americans to Methodism, they included the plantations and the slaves as part of their circuit rides.

Slaves accounted for 25 percent of the converts to early Methodism. This story of early African-American preachers such as Richard Allen, Peter Spencer, Absalom Jones, “Daddy” Moses and Harry Hosier riding from camp meeting to camp meeting and then creating some of the great Methodist denominations of today is a part of history that is studied and celebrated.

A native of Delaware, Syl Woolford is a graduate of Delaware State University and Rutgers University.  Recently retired from a career in accounting and sales, Woolford’s interest in history began with researching his own family history.  He traced his mother’s family, the Saunders Family, for 200 years in the city of Newark, Delaware.  Most recently, Mr. Woolford has traced the Woolford side of his family back to Dorchester County, Maryland and made a connection with Harriet Tubman’s legendary efforts in freeing slaves in Dorchester County.

The program is free to the public.  No reservations are required.  For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail

Syl Woolford






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