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Connecticut History Day 2017


Connecticut’s Loyal Subjects: Toryism and the American Revolution

Loyalists in Connecticut, often acting on beliefs tied to relegion, proved particularly prominent in Fairfield County. Many of them fled to Canada rather than face imprisonment at New-Gate.

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Blacksmith Isaac Glasko Challenges the State Constitution

Isaac Glasko was a blacksmith of mixed African American and Native American descent who challenged 19th-century voting rights in Connecticut.

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Detail from View of Essex, Centerbrook & Ivoryton, Conn. 1881

The British Raid on Essex

On a cold April night in 1814 a British raiding force rowed six miles up the Connecticut River to burn the privateers of Essex, then known as Pettipaug. The raiders torched 27 ships and took or destroyed thousands of dollars’ in other supplies.

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Arrest of White House pickets Catherine Flanagan of Hartford, Connecticut, and Madeleine Watson of Chicago

Women of the Prison Brigade

These women from all walks of life had one thing in common: they had been jailed for demonstrating in support of women’s right to vote.

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A Godmother to Ravensbrück Survivors

Philanthropist Caroline Ferriday aided women whose internment at a German concentration camp during WWII left them scarred, physically as well as psychologically.

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German American Bund parade

Southbury Takes On the Nazis

In the late 1930s, in an attempt to avoid a…

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America’s First Ordained Woman Minister: Olympia Brown and Bridgeport’s Universalist Church

Long-time Bridgeport resident Olympia Brown was the first woman ordained as a minister in the United States and campaigned vigorously for women’s suffrage.

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Paul Robeson by Gordon Parks, 1942

“Negroes Who Stand Up and Fight Back” – Paul Robeson in Hartford

Called the “greatest mobilization of police in the city’s history,” the event that brought law enforcement out in force to Keney Park was not a riot, not a strike, but a concert by this singer-actor and activist.

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Thomas Dodd (at podium), Nuremberg trial, ca., 1945-46

Connecticut Lawyer Prosecutes Nazi War Criminals at Nuremberg

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Thomas Joseph…

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Picking Tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley

Literacy Tests and the Right To Vote

Connecticut was the first state to require a literacy test of would-be voters and, even as the practice came under fire as a tool of discrimination, the state held steady until 1970.

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Pierre Eugene Du Simetière, Silas Deane. Member of Congress

The Rise and Fall of Silas Deane, American Patriot

Esteemed by his fellow patriots as a savvy diplomat who helped cement a strategic alliance with France during the American Revolution, Deane spent his final years under a cloud of suspicion.

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The Amistad

After slaves revolted and took control of the Amistad in 1839, Americans captured the ship off Long Island and imprisoned the slaves in New Haven. A US Supreme Court trial in which Roger Sherman Baldwin and John Quincy Adams defended the slaves, ultimately won them their freedom.

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A First Amendment Lesson: Weaver High Students Teach Their Elders

In the 1960s, Hartford high school students published a controversial newspaper that sparked debates about freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

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The wreck of Major Lufbery's machine, May 19, 1918

World War I Flying Ace Raoul Lufbery

Although his time as a Connecticut resident was short, this aviator left his mark on Wallingford and a generation fighter pilots.

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St. Anthony Comstock, the Village nuisance

Connecticut and the Comstock Law

The federal Comstock Law of 1873 made it illegal to…

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Norwich Free Academy, School Architecture: Pt. II. Plans for Graded Schools by Henry Barnard

Henry Barnard Advances State and National Education Initiatives

This 19th-century reformer sought to promote harmonious social and civic behavior by revamping the US school system.

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A Godmother to Ravensbrück Survivors

Philanthropist Caroline Ferriday aided women whose internment at a German concentration camp during WWII left them scarred, physically as well as psychologically.

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Congressional pugilists

Roger Griswold: A Governor Not Afraid To Challenge Authority

Roger Griswold was a lawyer, judge, and politician who spent…

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The Rise of the Black Panther Party in Connecticut

As they did nationally, the Black Panther Party in Connecticut fought for an end to discriminatory legal and regulatory practices, often clashing with authorities to achieve their goals.

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Paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh

The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Archives: How to Use Them

You could probably guess what archives might be, but think you have never seen one, or have never used one. The truth is most of us have probably used archives and don’t even know it.

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Kimberly Mansion, Glastonbury

The Smith Sisters, Their Cows, and Women’s Rights in Glastonbury

By refusing to pay unfair taxes, these siblings became national symbols of discrimination suffered by women and of the struggle of the individual against government.

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Photograph of Hilda Crosby Standish

Hilda Crosby Standish, Early Proponent of Women’s Reproductive Health

A pioneer of sex education and family planning, this physician directed the state’s first birth control clinic in 1935.

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The Old State House, Hartford

Jackson v. Bulloch and the End of Slavery in Connecticut

Nancy Jackson, a Georgia-born slave living in Hartford, sued for her freedom in 1837. Her victory helped further the abolitionist cause in a state slowly moving toward outlawing slavery.

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Constance Baker Motley: A Warrior for Justice

New Haven lawyer Constance Baker Motley became famous for arguing some of the most important cases of the civil rights movement.

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The Language of the Unheard: Racial Unrest in 20th-Century Hartford

Race riots in Hartford during the 1960s came about thanks to a century of frustration and political inaction surrounding disparate standards of living among different races and ethnicities,

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Oakwood Acres temporary housing

The Debate Over Who Could Occupy World War II Public Housing in West Hartford

In the 1940s, African American war workers eligible for government-funded housing found access restricted to some properties despite vacancies.

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Ida Tarbell: The Woman Who Took On Standard Oil

At the end of the 19th century, Ida Tarbell became one of the most famous “muckraking” journalists in America, thanks largely to her investigation of the Standard Oil Company.

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Maria Sanchez and Alejandro La Luz, Puerto Rican spokesmen, Hartford

Maria Sánchez, State Representative and Community Advocate

The first Latina elected to the Connecticut General Assembly started as a grassroots activist for Hartford’s Puerto Rican community.

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Dodd Gun Bill Becomes Law

Thomas J. Dodd and the Gun Control Act of 1968

Written in December 1791, the Second Amendment to the United…

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Detail view of the 29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers Fought More than One War

The state’s first African American regiment of the Civil War distinguished itself by battling Confederate forces and 19th-century prejudices.

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Hopkins Street Center once known as the Pearl St. Neighborhood House

A Woman Who Developed Tolerance: Leila T. Alexander

On Saturday, November 18, 1944, at noon after the meeting…

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Taking on the State: Griswold v. Connecticut

In the 1960s, Hartford native Estelle Griswold challenged Connecticut’s restrictive birth control law. Her argument for the right to privacy made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Man wearing a hat with card stating "Bread or Revolution"

How the Wobblies Won Free Speech

Denied the right to free assembly in public spaces, Connecticut workers joined in a larger national movement of civil disobedience.

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Vietnam Protests in Connecticut

Opposition to the war in Vietnam manifested itself in Connecticut in many of the same ways it did across the country. The most extensive protests occurred in 1969 and 1970.

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Senator William Wallace Eaton

William Eaton, a Peace Democrat and Civil War Opponent

This 19th- century Connecticut politician took a controversial stand against a war that would divide the Union and decrease states’ rights.

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Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall Fights for Equal Access to Education

A headmistress champions education for African American women and although forced to close her school in 1834, she helped win the battle for generations that followed.

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Mayor Lee (center) of New Haven, looking at Knights of Columbus building model

Richard Lee’s Urban Renewal in New Haven

Thanks largely to his efforts at Urban Renewal, New Haven’s Richard C. Lee became one of the most celebrated and well-known mayors of the 20th century.

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A Muster Ceremony, New Haven Green

The First Battle of Bull Run: Connecticut Troops Stand Firm When the Battle Turns Against Them

Connecticut troops earned admiration for staying to fight when others fled.

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Hiram Bingham IV

Hiram Bingham IV: A Humanitarian Honored for Saving Lives during WWII

Career diplomat Hiram Bingham IV, whose family has lived in…

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Mayor Insists Air Terminal to Aid Idle

“Something to Show for Our Work”: Building Brainard Airport

At the height of the Great Depression, unemployed men living around Hartford, became a cheap source of labor to help build Brainard airport.

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The Black Panther Party in Connecticut: Community Survival Programs

The Black Panthers had a significance presence in Connecticut in the 1960s and ’70s, particularly through community programs aimed to serve minorities living in the state’s more urban areas.

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Map of school busing and integration in the greater Hartford area, 1966

Sheff v. O’Neill Settlements Target Educational Segregation In Hartford

This landmark case not only drew attention to inequalities in area school systems, it focused efforts on reform.

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The Northern Student Movement

The Northern Student Movement motivated college students to contribute their energies to important social causes such as literacy and civil rights.

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Josephine Bennett and daughters Frances and Katherine

Hartford’s City Mother, Josephine Bennett

The small plaque in the south corner of the State…

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Reverend James Pennington: A Voice for Freedom

Having escaped from slavery in Maryland, this accomplished pastor, publisher, and freedom fighter challenged racism wherever he found it, even within the ranks of the abolitionist movement and the ministry.

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The Fundamental Orders

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The Fundamental Orders, inspired by Thomas Hooker’s sermon of May…

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

Connecticut’s Black Civil War Regiment

“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.

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Foreign Mission School, Cornwall

An Experiment in Evangelization: Cornwall’s Foreign Mission School

The story of the Foreign Mission School connects the town…

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Yung Wing

Avon’s Educational and Cultural Pioneer

Yung Wing was the first Chinese student to graduate from…

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Capital Punishment in Connecticut: Changing Views

Connecticut’s struggles with the issue of capital punishment date back…

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Morton Biskind Warned the World About DDT

A Westport physician named Morton Biskind became one of the first to warn the world about the dangers of DDT. His work ultimately helped inspire the writings of Rachel Carson.

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Benjamin Spock: Raising the World’s Children

Pediatrician (and Connecticut native) Benjamin Spock revolutionized childcare in the 20th century before becoming a leading figure in the anti-war movement of the 60s and 70s.

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Art Young, Radical Cartoonist

One of the more controversial cartoonists of the early 20th century, Art Young lived much of his life in Bethel. Residents later founded the Art Young Gallery in his memory.

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Caleb Brewster and the Culper Spy Ring

Caleb Brewster used his knowledge of Long Island Sound to serve as a member of the Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War.

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William Eustis plans for New London

Defending Connecticut: Fortifying New London Against the British in 1812

“Sir, You will immediately commence the repairs of the magazine at Fort Trumbull and the block house at Fort Griswold…,” wrote the US Secretary of War to a captain in New London.

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Roger Tory Peterson, European starlings

Artist Roger Tory Peterson, a Champion for the Natural World

“The philosophy that I have worked under most of my life is that the serious study of natural history is an activity which has far-reaching effects in every aspect of a person’s life,” said Roger Tory Peterson, an artist, author, and influential conservationist whose own life epitomized this belief.

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Emily Holcombe presenting deeds of Gold Street to Mayor Miles B. Preston

Emily Holcombe Pioneered to Preserve Connecticut’s Colonial Past

Emily Seymour Goodwin Holcombe was an activist and preservationist who…

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The Newsies Strike Back

Despite organizing in 1909 to fight pay cuts, ultimately, vending machines and changing business models brought an end to the era of the Hartford newsie.

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Katharine Houghton Hepburn

Katharine Houghton Hepburn, A Woman Before Her Time

This Hartford suffragist and reformer fought for women’s rights in the first half of the 20th century.

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Connecticut Agricultural College coeds gathering maple sap for war effort

A New Source of Farm Labor Crops Up in Wartime

During times of war, in Connecticut, as in many other states, women became an increasingly important resource in food production.

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Tantaquidgeon Lodge, Montville

Medicine Woman Gladys Tantaquidgeon and Mohegan Cultural Renewal

An Ivy league-educated anthropologist, Mohegan Medicine Woman Gladys Tantaquidgeon not…

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Emily Pierson handing out leaflets in New York State Suffrage Campaign

A Feeling of Solidarity: Labor Unions and Suffragists Team Up

The voting booth and the shop floor were two important arenas in the fight for women’s equality.

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James Mars

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

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

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John Brown: A Portrait of Violent Abolitionism

John Brown of Torrington used violence to oppose the spread of slavery prior to the Civil War, ultimately leading a bloody raid on the armory in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

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Am I not a man and a brother?

Early Anti-slavery Advocates in 18th-century Connecticut

Ideals advanced during the American Revolution inspired many of the state’s religious and political leaders to question and oppose slavery in the late 1700s.

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Education/Instrucción Combats Housing Discrimination

This group’s bilingual name reflected its educational mission as well as its dedication to unified, multicultural cooperation for the common good.

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Hartford classroom, 1957

Five Minutes that Changed Connecticut: Simon Bernstein and the 1965 Connecticut Education Amendment

“There shall always be free public elementary and secondary schools in the state. The general assembly shall implement this principle by appropriate legislation.”

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Contagious Ward, Greenwich General Hospital, 1916

Health Department Fights Unseen Enemies During World War I

How Greenwich faced the menace of two highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases: polio and Spanish Influenza.

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The house of Samson Occom in Mohegan, Montville

Samson Occom and the Brotherton Indians

A Mohegan and founding member of a pantribal group of Christian Indians, Occum sought to preserve Native autonomy by living apart from European communities.

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The General Superintendent, Z. R. Brockway, interviewing new arrivals

Zebulon Brockway: A Controversial Figure in Prison Reform

Zebulon Brockway was one of the more successful and controversial…

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PROJECT CONCERN youngsters, 20 of them from Hartford, arrive at Spaulding School, Suffield

Connecticut Takes the Wheel on Education Reform: Project Concern

As one of the earliest voluntary busing programs in the US, Project Concern sought to address educational inequalities.

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Pequot bowl, trade item, 17th century

Causes of the Pequot War

The outbreak of the Pequot War (1636-37) is best understood…

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