Wilmington, Delaware's Big Quarterly Part 2
In part two of our series based on WPA Delaware records we take a look at the origins of what has come to be called Big Quarterly—a combination August African-American religious revival/food festival held in the city of Wilmington Delaware. The stories are based on records found in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. During the antebellum period Big Quarterly had been a religious event marking the last quarterly meeting of the year of the African Union Methodist Episcopal Church, established as the first African-American church in Delaware in 1805. It had been the custom of slave owners in Delaware and nearby states such as Maryland, the District of Columbia, and then perhaps Virginia to allow their slaves to have a day off to worship or do as they please and many provided carts and ox teams to facilitate the trip to Wilmington. The August meeting came at a time when weather conditions made traveling best. Throughout the years, attendance at Big Quarterly increased. Perhaps your church can Resurrect a August revival tradition that brings people together for both spiritual and culinary feasting. Learn more about what enslaved folk grew and cooked during the antebellum period and Michael W. Twitty's new book The Cooking Gene which hit the shelves of bookstores yesterday.