253 Wilmington, DE: Hanging

[Wilmington downtown]

Downtown Wilmington consisted of large corporate offices and huge tracts of poverty. If every town chose an appropriate subject for its series of public downtown sculptures (Kansas City: cows; Toledo: frogs; etc.), what does it say about Wilmington that they chose dinosaurs?

At lunch hour, I found many of the local corporations' employees lolling on the pedestrian mall where Seventh Avenue at Market Street was closed off to car traffic. I interviewed a pair of African American> friends laughing in the promenade. He was rail thin with a floppy cap and gray goatee. She was large in her late thirties and wearing flamboyant clothes. When I asked if they knew the paintings of Edward Hopper, the man responded, "No, not really. But who we work for probably has pictures of that. We work at MBNA. And they have a collection."

When I followed by asking whether people in Wilmington were isolated from each other, they both answered, "No."

"Like on Peyton Place," he explained, "everybody's pretty close to knowing everybody. When I came down here in '57, a lot of people came down from Detroit following Chrysler. A lot of people. So there's a lot of people that know each other for years."

"What about African Americans versus the white community here. Is there any division there?"

"No," she dismissed the idea. "We all hang on the same wall together. We pretty much get along cause Wilmington is a big small city. Everybody knows your business. Delaware is real small. You go in one end and you're out of it at the other end in no time."

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