The Historical Society of Cecil County’s Winter Speakers Series continues on Saturday, February 1, 2014, with a talk on Early Black Methodism on Delmarva by Syl Woolford.
John Wesley, in his vision of the Methodist Episcopal Church, established a denomination in which all human beings were considered equal. When his disciples, Francis Asbury, Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Coke, came to America to convert the early Americans to Methodism, they included the plantations and the slaves as part of their circuit rides. Slaves accounted for 25 percent of the converts to early Methodism.
This story of early African-American preachers such as Richard Allen, Peter Spencer, Absalom Jones, “Daddy” Moses and Harry Hosier riding from camp meeting to camp meeting while creating some of the great Methodist denominations of today is a part of history that is examined and celebrated in this lecture.
Syl Woolford is a native Delawarean and he resides in Newark. He is a graduate of Delaware State University with a BS Degree in Business Administration/Accounting and a graduate of Rutgers University with an MBA in Marketing. He has recently retired from a career in accounting and sales.
The speaker’s interest in history began with researching his own family history. He traced his mother’s family, the Saunders Family, for 200 years in the city of Newark, Delaware. Most recently, he has traced the Woolford side of his family back to Dorchester County, Maryland and made a connection with Harriet Tubman’s legendary efforts in free slaves in Dorchester County.
The scholar and genealogist has spent a great deal of time making discoveries about African-American history on the Delmarva Peninsula. His investigations and popular lectures include the United States Colored Troops, the Dover Eight, the Iron Hill Community Genealogy Project, and many more subjects.
The program, which takes places at the Society’s library at 135 E. Main Street at 2 p.m., is free. No reservations are required.