Historic Black Church Vandalized With Racial Slurs Ahead of Easter Sunday

An investigation is underway after a historic Black church in Delaware was vandalized with racial slurs and threatening messages over Easter weekend, according to WPIV-TV. New Castle County Police confirmed they’re searching for the person who left hateful scrawls on St. Daniels Community Church of Iron Hill.

When Donna Johnson, a pastor’s aide, and her husband, Ted, arrived at St. Daniel’s Church on Saturday (Mar 30) to prepare for the Easter Sunday service, they discovered the heat wasn’t working. She walked out back to check the propane tank but found something much worse.

“And then right above my head, as my eyes went up, I saw ‘die’ and the N word,” Donna Johnson said according to DPM. “And after I saw that, I directed my eyes all the way across where I saw ‘KKK,’ ‘die,’ all the way across, etched into the side of the building.”

“When he put die, he wanted us to die, that’s propane tanks out there,” Johnson told reporters.

Pastor Joseph E. Field III said he was forced to cancel Easter services on Sunday, fearing the suspect may have tampered with the propane tanks.

“I was angry,” Field stated. “We couldn’t have services here. I canceled service because I wasn’t sure how bad everything was.”

The bathroom window was also broken but no items appear missing. Johnson called New Castle County Police – and the gas company to check the gas lines. They relocated their Sunday service to a church in Glasgow.

Reporters said the church dates back to the mid-1800s and is the oldest known surviving free Black church in northern Delaware. St. Daniel’s was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in September 2021, according to the state’s Divison of Historical and Cultural Affairs.


Pastor Joe Field says they will continue to hold services there.

“We have an older congregation but they’re pretty strong,” Field says. “A lot of them grew up in that area where they had a lot of racism going on so they’re not new to this. They’re prepared for it. They already told me, they said ‘Pastor, we’re going to be here Sunday and we’re going to have church Sunday.’ We’re not going to be intimidated.”