New West Rehoboth legacy mural celebrates iconic Black Community

DCF BIPOC Leaders and Communities Grant supports creation of historical artwork

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Photo provided by Developing Artist Collaboration

A new mural honoring the historic Black community of West Rehoboth was unveiled this week on Malloy Street in Rehoboth Beach.

Funded in part by a $25,000 BIPOC Leaders and Communities Grant from the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF), the West Rehoboth Legacy Mural was painted by Terrance Vann, a prominent mural artist and West Rehoboth native. Other contributors to the mural project were the Sussex County Council, Festival of Cheer, the Southern Delaware Food and Wine Festival, and generous individuals in the community.

The mural is part of an effort by the Developing Artist Collaboration (DAC) to revive and preserve the history of the area for future generations, DAC Founder Leah Beach said.

Beach originally had the idea for a mural in West Rehoboth in 2019, after she saw an exhibit of photographs and artifacts that Terrance and his father, historian Antoine Vann, brought to share the story of their family’s history at the Rehoboth Museum.

“We (the West Rehoboth Legacy Partners Committee) had the original idea of a portrait of the founding families of West Rehoboth,” Beach said. “But, as more community members brought us pictures of relatives, artifacts from generations before them, and told stories of their families, the committee changed the plan to showcasing the history of the area. Our goal was to preserve the legacy of the community, so it is never forgotten.”

Beach began raising money and hired Vann to begin work on the mural in 2021. Vann said his design draws inspiration from the current residents as well as those who comprised the community in the 1940s.

“Through this project, I’ve not only learned a lot about my family, but also about the entire West Rehoboth history,” Vann said. “Black history in West Rehoboth hasn’t had a chance to shine in the past, so recognizing people and this community is special.”

Photo provided by Developing Artist Collaboration

The mural is located at 37401 Malloy St Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971. This fall, QR codes will be mounted on the wall linking to videos of oral histories and historical facts about West Rehoboth Beach and the community of color that founded the area.

About the Delaware Community Foundation

The mission of the Delaware Community Foundation is to improve the lives of the people of Delaware by empowering and growing philanthropy through knowledge and relationships, now and in the future. As a facilitator, information resource and manager of charitable funds, the DCF helps communities and philanthropists focus charitable resources for the greatest community benefit statewide. For more information, visit delcf.org or call 302.571.8004.

Photos provided by the Developing Artist Collaboration