Blog Archives

Ensign Merle J. Smith, Jr.

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

June 8, 2015

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

Photograph of President Lyndon Johnson Signing the Voting Rights Act with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Other Civil Rights Leaders in the Capitol Rotunda, August 6, 1965 - National Archives

Selma, Not So Far Away

March 11, 2015

By Steve Thornton Father Leonard Tartaglia was sometimes called Hartford’s “Hoodlum Priest.” Like the 1961 film of the same name, Tartaglia ministered to the city’s poor and disenfranchised. He challenged …[more]

Categories: Greenwich, Hartford, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Social Movements, Stamford, Waterbury

Civil Rights picket, US Courthouse, Hartford

“U.S. Troops in Viet Nam, but none in Selma” – Today in History: March 9

March 9, 2015

On March 9, 1965, protesters held an all-night vigil in front of Connecticut Governor John Dempsey’s residence. Representatives of Hartford’s Civil Rights movement, led by members of the North End …[more]

Categories: Hartford, Social Movements, Vietnam War

Commissary Sergeant 29th Regiment

Connecticut 29th Mustered into Service – Today in History: March 8

March 8, 2015

On March 8, 1864, the state’s first African American regiment, the Connecticut Twenty-Ninth (Colored) Regiment, C.V. Infantry, mustered into service to fight for the Union’s cause in the Civil War. …[more]

Categories: Civil War, War and Defense

Attributed to Osbert Burr Loomis, Nancy Toney, oil on canvas

Nancy Toney’s Lifetime in Slavery

March 1, 2015

From scant evidence, including a portrait, gravestone, census data, and will, a partial image of a Connecticut life lived in slavery emerges. …[more]

Categories: Everyday Life, Slavery and Abolition, Windsor, Women

James Mars

James Mars’ Words Illuminate the Cruelty of Slavery in New England

February 28, 2015

Mars’ landmark memoir of the mid-1800s reveals how enslaved men and women suffered—and resisted—the injustices of bondage.  …[more]

Categories: Canaan, Connecticut History Day 2015, Norfolk, Slavery and Abolition

Detail from a map of Hayt

Ebenezer Bassett’s Historic Journey

February 27, 2015

This educator, activist, and associate of Frederick Douglass served the US as its first African American ambassador. …[more]

Categories: Civil War, Derby, New Haven, Politics and Government, Slavery and Abolition

Race Restrictive Covenants in Property Deeds

Race Restrictive Covenants in Property Deeds

February 23, 2015

“No persons of any race except the white race shall use or occupy any building on any lot... ." Language such as this still appears in Hartford-area housing covenants today. …[more]

Categories: Immigration, Law, West Hartford

Valley Forge, 1777

A Connecticut Slave in George Washington’s Army

February 22, 2015

Nero Hawley, born into slavery in Connecticut in the 18th century, fought in the Revolutionary War. After his emancipation at the age of 41, he went on to become a …[more]

Categories: Revolutionary War, Slavery and Abolition, Stratford, Trumbull, Work

Fredi Washington and her sister Isabel, 1930s

Remembering Fredi Washington: Actress, Activist, and Journalist

February 21, 2015

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

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