Blog Archives

Image of Soldiers Memorial, Company B, 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

Connecticut’s Black Civil War Regiment

January 26, 2015

"If you win freedom and citizenship, we shall share your freedom and citizenship." With these words, abolitionist Frederick Douglass reminded African American soldiers from Connecticut that they fought for the hopes of many. …[more]

Categories: Civil War, Slavery and Abolition, War and Defense

Anna Lousie James behind the soda fountain in the James' pharmacy

Anna Louise James Makes History with Medicine

January 19, 2015

Anna Louise James was born on January 19, 1886, in Hartford. The daughter of a Virginia plantation slave who escaped to Connecticut, she grew up in Old Saybrook. Dedicating her …[more]

Categories: Everyday Life, Health and Medicine, Old Saybrook, Women

Martin Luther King

Dr. King’s Dream Had Roots in Connecticut

January 19, 2015

In the summer of 1944 a young Martin Luther King Jr. worked at the Simsbury tobacco farm of Cullman Brothers, Inc. Like many other African American students from the South …[more]

Categories: Agriculture, CT At Work: Hartford Area, Simsbury, Social Movements, Work

Detail from the broadside an "Address to Miss Phillis Wheatly" composed by Jupiter Hammon

Hartford Publishes the First Literary Work by an African American – Who Knew?

October 17, 2014

…that Jupiter Hammon, who endured life-long enslavement became the first African American writer to be published in America when his 88-line poem, “An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential …[more]

Categories: CT At Work: Hartford Area, Hartford, Literature, Who Knew?

Venture Smith's headstone

Venture Smith, from Slavery to Freedom

September 4, 2014

Smith’s account sheds light on the experience of enslaved and free blacks in 18th-century Connecticut.  …[more]

Categories: Connecticut History Day 2015, East Haddam, Slavery and Abolition, Stonington

Ensign Merle J. Smith, Jr.

Academy Graduates First African American Student – Today in History: June 8

June 8, 2014

On June 8, 1966, the US Coast Guard Academy in New London graduated the first African American student, Ensign Merle James Smith, Jr. Smith received a Bachelor of Science degree …[more]

Categories: Education, New London

Fredi Washington and her sister Isabel, 1930s

Remembering Fredi Washington: Actress, Activist, and Journalist

March 10, 2014

This actress earned acclaim for her portrayal of an African American woman who chooses to pass as white in order to escape racial discrimination but, in real life, she embraced her heritage and worked to end inequality.  …[more]

Categories: Arts, Popular Culture, Women

Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses, Bridgeport, photograph ca. 1998

Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses

February 27, 2014

Houses owned by Mary and Eliza Freeman are the only remnants of "Little Liberia," a settlement of free African Americans in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that began in 1831 and reached its highest population just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.  …[more]

Categories: Bridgeport, Civil War, Derby, Historic Preservation, Women

Advertisement from The Hartford Daily Courant, October 8, 1852

Augustus Washington (1820 – 1875): African American Daguerreotypist

February 26, 2014

Though his work depicts people of different classes and cultures, ironically, no portraits of African Americans survive from his years in Hartford. …[more]

Categories: CT At Work: Hartford Area, Everyday Life, Hartford, Slavery and Abolition

Underground Railroad Agents in Connecticut

New Britain Plays Part in the Underground Railroad

February 24, 2014

The Underground Railroad, developed in the early 19th century, was a system of safe havens designed to help fugitive slaves escape to freedom. Traveling on foot, by wagon, on horseback, …[more]

Categories: CT At Work: Hartford Area, New Britain, Slavery and Abolition

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