Lewes loses two prominent community members

January 14, 2022

The Lewes community at large recently has suffered two major losses: the resignation of Jim Abbott, executive director of the Lewes Historical Society and the passing of Dr. Aimee Wiest. 

Jim was a champion who believed history belonged to all people and worked to bring his ideas about inclusion to fruition. He is an expert who shared his knowledge of Black Lewes. He is also passionate, honest, a historical lecturer on the Black experience, a blunt spokesperson and crusader who sparked a spirited reawakening of Black life and culture through the relocation of the net reel.

The mystery surrounding its relocation, and the relocation itself, has been a divisive riveting point in Lewes. It is important for those of us who remain to continue his vision and create a legacy.

He is also an author, a chronicler of events, a museum architect, restorer and, given his level of knowledge and expertise, perhaps a singularly irreplaceable Renaissance person.

My only regret is that I did not get to work more closely with him.

The passing of Aimee Wiest, who is the founder of the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice Book and Film Club, beginning with the book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander, is also a monumental loss.

Aimee rubbed shoulders with many important Black authors and musicians of the day; she was well traveled in Africa and in the more segregated parts of America; she taught Black literature and music appreciation not only to colleges, but helped introduce a course into Cape Henlopen School District.

She had the sweetest personality coupled with mental sharpness, an expert in her own disciplines, asking penetrating questions as a facilitator, and most importantly of all, accepted all people at her table without judgment. One of our most cherished remembrances will be her playing by ear Christmas songs at one of our open houses.

I know that I am not alone in grieving the loss of these two most exceptional people.

Alicia Jones
  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number and address for verification. Please keep letters to 500 words or fewer. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. Letters should be responsive to issues addressed in the Cape Gazette rather than content from other publications or media. Only one letter per author will be published every 30 days. Letters restating information and opinions already offered by the same author will not be used. Letters must focus on issues of general, local concern, not personalities or specific businesses.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter