Whipping Post In Georgetown To Be Removed

As the nation continues to reckon with controversial historical milestones, another part of Delaware history is going into storage.

The whipping post known as Red Hannah will be taken down Wednesday from outside the old Sussex County Courthouse just off The Circle in Georgetown, according to the Delaware Division of Cultural Affairs. The decision was made, according to officials, in response to community concerns and the recognition of the violence and racial discrimination that many Delawareans associate with it.

The whipping post will be stored with other historical artifacts, including a whipping post that was used near The Green in Dover.

“Such relics of the past should be placed in museums to be preserved and protected for those who want to remember the cruel, inhuman, barbarous acts perpetrated on our citizens,” Delaware Heritage Commission Dr. Reba Hollingsworth said.

Delaware Historic and Cultural Affairs Director Tim Slavin said while it’s one thing to preserve such an item in state collections, “it’s quite another thing to allow a whipping post to remain in place along a busy public street – a cold, deadpan display that does not adequately account for the traumatic legacy it represents and that still reverberates among communities of color in our state.”

The whipping post was originally located on the grounds of the Sussex Correctional Institution, and was donated by the warden to HCA in 1992.

Historians say public corporal punishment goes back to Delaware’s earliest days of settlement. Such punishments were also found to be disproportionately applied to people of color.

The whipping post was last used in 1952. Delaware became the final state to officially abolish the whipping post in 1972.