Case 2: Teaching Career and Leadership of the NAACP
When the Governor Bacon Health Center was opened in Delaware City in 1948, Littleton Mitchell was hired as an instructor, where he would become the first African-American in Delaware to teach white students. Mitchell would spend his entire career, until his retirement in 1984, as a teacher and counselor for emotionally troubled youth at the Governor Bacon Health Center.
Mitchell was active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from a young age, joining the Milford and Wilmington branches of the NAACP. In 1961, Mitchell became president of the Delaware State Branches of the NAACP, and led the organization for over thirty years, until 1991. During his time as president, he directed efforts to ensure equal rights for African-Americans in the state, addressing issues of fair housing, school desegregation, voting rights, as well as educational and employment discrimination. Mitchell also was a fierce advocate for the rights of migrant workers in the state, who often lived amid squalid conditions.
Selected items on display:
- Governor Bacon Health Center postcard and enlargement of reverse side, 1949. Despite being the only certified life guard, Mitchell was not permitted to enter the pool with the white students he was instructing.
- Mitchell with children at Governor Bacon Health Center, circa 1950s.
- Letter from a student at Governor Bacon Health center regarding school integration, undated.
- Letter from Mitchell to Governor Charles L. Terry regarding employment discrimination, 1965.
- Letter from Mitchell to Governor Elbert N. Carvel, 1961.
- Photograph of the signing of the 1979 Affirmative Action Executive Order by Governor Pierre S. du Pont and accompanying letter, 1979.
- Article on Mitchell's visit to a migrant labor camp and photos taken, 1973.
- Statement from the Delaware NAACP regarding school desegregation, 1976.