County Executive Gordon’s Proclamation recognized Antoni Swart, as the honorary first civilian colonist in New Castle County, Delaware. The African sailed from St. Christopher, an island in the West Indies aboard the Swedish ship Fogel Grip in 1638. He then lived in the area now known as Wilmington and New Castle County from 1639 to 1643, and again in the early 1654.
“Historical records indicate that Anthony was a free black African who was referred to by first and last name as was traditional for individuals of status,” the Executive’s Proclamation reads in part. “Slaves and servants were never mentioned by name.”
The Executive read his proclamation in full at the anniversary celebration held in the Frederick Douglas Stubbs Elementary School auditorium. Delaware historian Abdullah Muhammad organized the event, which included remarks by several other dignitaries.
Please see the Proclamations section to view the entire proclamation.