Delaware has removed its last whipping post, which stood outside a Sussex County courthouse in Georgetown. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs said the eight-foot-tall post had been used to bind and whip people for crimes up until 1952, with Black people being punished disproportionately.
It was the last whipping post standing in the country when it was removed Wednesday morning by local officials.
"It is appropriate for an item like this to be preserved in the state's collections, so that future generations may view it and attempt to understand the full context of its historical significance," HCA Director Tim Slavin said in a statement. "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."
It took about 90 minutes for the post to be removed from the ground and is being moved to an HCA storage facility.
The HCA says they will work with local Black leaders, historians and educators in Delaware in ways to properly showcase the post in a museum where it can be properly contextualized and interpreted.
Delaware, the first state in the Union, was the last state to abolish the whipping post and removed the punishment from state law in 1972.