WDIT-Black History Month

As we all 'know, this is black history month. I've been looking for a story in Connecticut that really bring the history of the state out. Every year i seem to learn something new. Which is great. The black community is so rich in black history. What I was going to do was pull something from this Black history calendar. It was great tool for me and still is. There's 52 weeks in a year.. and 52 examples of African Americans or other black people who have made history. Check it out right here I really think it is important to go beyond Fredrick Douglas and Martin Luther King, Jr. in order to really get this generation to understand that they can achieve greatness. I'm all about knowing where you've been to understand where you're going.... even it's just to realize that we're off track somehow. (and not only when February rolls around.)
Earlier this month, one news story really struck a chord with me. The Connecticut Post focused on some very, very old homes in Bridgeport that are in serious need of a renovation. The two homes are all that are left of the First Free-Black Settlement in Connecticut called "Little Liberia." The homes date back to the 1820's and 1850's when the area was just being settled. The bottom line: these homes shed light on an often ignored segment in American History- the lives of freed slaves living in the Northeast. I just hope someone sees and understands the value of these two rotting homes to future generations and acts.

There were similar communities all across the Northeast
Boston had Beacon Hill.
New York's Sta
te Island had Sandy Ground and Providence Rhode Island had the Hard-Scrabble. Ethiope has been Connected to the Underground railroad... allowing escaped slaves to travel across long island sound From Long island into the coastal community.

The Mary and Eliza Freeman Homes were owned by a couple of sisters... Who's brother Joel was likely one of the founders of the community. Joel even argued for state funding to build a school for Ethiope as it was first called... until became known as a place of "liberation" or freedom for runaway slaves.

All three were from Derby. The sisters didn't move to Bridgeport until the railroad from New York to Bridgeport was completed in 1848. They built their homes that very year.. and according to FreemanHouses.com they began to amass real estate in Little Liberia... soon making them the wealthiest women in Bridgeport. P-T Barnum would be the only one to have more money than them. Amazing right?

The Mary and Eliza Freeman houses have survived countless tenants, urban renewal projects that leveled buildings around them, at least one fire and 160 years of New England winters.
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation listed the houses on its "most endangered" list in 1992 and again in 2007. They have also been added to the state and National Register of Historic Places. source

and this


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