Voices Heard traces Lewes Black history in photos

LHS exhibit connects city’s African American experience
April 25, 2024

Voices Heard: The History and Legacy of the Black Community in Lewes is now open. The exhibit at the Lewes History Museum kicked off with a reception April 19.

Darryl Daisey, whose family is prominently featured in the exhibit, said more than 100 people came to the opening.

“Our ancestors would be very proud that they are part of the story of African Americans in Lewes,” Daisey said. “It is a positive portrayal of our history.”

J. Marcos Salaverria, Lewes Historical Society director of education, said attendance at the opening was record territory for an LHS exhibit.

He said Voices Heard helps connect the puzzle pieces that put together the entire history of Lewes.

“[The exhibit] might be the end of a three-year project, but it’s just the beginning of the research to complete the narrative,” Salaverria said.

The exhibit depicts a vibrant Black community that once played a significant role in creating the culture of Lewes. It features about 30 photographs from the late 1800s to the 1960s depicting various aspects of the Black experience: church, military service, growing up and recreation.

Many of the photographs in the exhibit are on display for the first time. They are on loan from the Daisey Family Legacy Collection, the Lewes Historical Society and other private collections.

“Some photos are impactful, other represent everyday lives,” Daisey said.

One late 1800s charcoal sketch of James “Alfred” Daisey and his grandson, William S. Daisey, greets visitors at the entrance.

The integration of Lewes public schools in the early 1960s is represented at the exhibit.

Gloria Allen Harmon, along with five of her siblings, and the three oldest Daisey family siblings, would integrate the Lewes public school system when the schools opened up on a voluntary basis to the city’s Black students.

Harmon, who was the first Black graduate of Lewes High School in 1963, was there for the exhibit opening.

Daisey’s siblings Sarah Daisey Minor and Deborah Daisey Street were also there. They were in first grade and kindergarten, respectively, at the time of integration.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of sharing the journey of the Black community of Lewes,” said Trina Brown-Hicks, a member of the Lewes African American Heritage Commission and chair of the Johnnie Walker Beach Subcommittee.

Brown-Hicks was a driving force behind launching the exhibit and the Voices Heard documentary, which debuted last year. The documentary is running on a continuous loop at the exhibit.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 29 at the museum. For more information, go to


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