Three years ago, Marilyn P. Whittington, executive director of Delaware Humanities, a nonprofit organization based in Wilmington that is affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities, proposed making a documentary film on the history of historically Black Delaware State University in Dover. She brought in filmmaker Michael Oates to undertake the project.
Recently the film entitled A Legacy of Opportunity was shown to a select group on the Delaware State campus. The 52-minute film will be shown publicly during Black History Month in February and has been made available on YouTube (See it below.)
The film tells the story of the educational institution that started in 1891 with 12 students meeting in an old plantation house to the vibrant global university it is today with undergraduate enrollments of nearly 4,000 students and graduate programs for more than 300 students. Carlos Holmes, director of news services at Delaware State University stated that ‘we’ve been able to capture in this documentary, Delaware State University history, Delaware history, Black history. U.S. history, and historical Black colleges and universities history.”
Oates and his team interviewed more than 50 people for the documentary. He said it was difficult to decide what to include in the final product of the film. He donated unused footage to the university.
“There is plenty left to tell more stories and take different angles if the student want to,” Marilyn Whittington told the Delaware State News. Whittington holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. She is a former professor at Delaware Technical and Community College.