'Delaware and the Underground Railroad Through Poetry' set April 5 in Dover

Bridgeville poet Thurman W. Adams to read from his own work
“The Underground Railroad” by Charles T. Webber, 1893. SOURCE SUBMITTED
March 31, 2014

The Old State House at 25 The Green in Dover will present a program of poetry written about the Underground Railroad and slavery in the United States at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 5.

The program will feature Bridgeville poet Thurman W. Adams reading his own works, as well as Old State House staff members reading poems by John W. Franklin, Robert Hayden, Harriet Beecher Stowe and others. The program will also include African-American spirituals and other works performed by the First Baptist Church of Cheswold Inspirational Choir. In addition to the Underground Railroad poetry program, The Old State House will be open for visitation and tours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Delaware and the Underground Railroad Through Poetry” is presented in conjunction with First Saturday in the First State, a monthly series of events sponsored by the First State Heritage Park. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call 302-744-5055.

The First State’s role in the Underground Railroad is explored in the exhibit An Illegal Activity: The Underground Railroad in Delaware that is currently on display at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries a few blocks away from The Old State House at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd..

Poet, historian and retired farmer,  Adams (born in 1948) of Bridgeville, is a former member of the Board of Trustees of Delaware Technical Community College, founder and first president of the Bridgeville Historical Society and former vice president and board member of the William H. Ross Mansion and Plantation of the Seaford Historical Society.

Adams traces his American ancestry to Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in North America. He is the seventh great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin; fifth great-grandson of William Ross, a member of the Delaware Committee of Safety during the American Revolutionary War; and nephew of the late Delaware Senate President Pro Tem Thurman Adams Jr., the longest-serving member in the history of the Delaware Senate.

Members of the Ross side of Adams’ family who were living in Dorchester County, Md., were the owners of Araminta Harriet Ross, whose married name was Harriet Tubman. After her escape from slavery in 1849, Tubman became a conductor on the Underground Railroad, leading more than 300 slaves to freedom on more than 20 separate trips through Maryland and Delaware.