Free African American Weeksville Community in Brooklyn Photo Tour-Abolition Civil War Reconstruction

Pat Young

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#41
The preservation of the Weeksville houses came as a result of a joint effort by architects, historians, archaeologists, and the local African American community. The homes had been lost for more than two decades when they were finally rediscovered. All of the preservation efforts were taking place against the background of imminent demolition for "urban renewal." Finally, the City got on board and contributed to the effort to raise $3 million to save the homes. Later, a $34 million Weeksville Heritage Center was put up on the site with lovely landscaping, a small museum, and a performance space.

All of that is terrific. However, after opening, funding grew scarce and the site is now only open four days per week, Tues-Friday. As a result, most visitors are kids on school field trips. I am told the site only gets a few dozen adult visitors most weeks because everyone is at work.

I had to take the photos from the sidewalk outside the center because I have never had the time-off to actually visit the homes!

Hopefully, this important and lovingly preserved site will one day go to the six-day schedule of most New York cultural institutions.

Here is the web site for the center:

http://www.weeksvillesociety.org/
 

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Pat Young

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#42

Pat Young

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#48
When I visited Weeksville in the Fall it was closed. Michele and I went back today to tour. There are four buildings there as well a visitor center. Here we are in front of the 1850s building at the site with our guide Ivy:

week1.JPG
 

Pat Young

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#58
@Pat Young, since New York City had a significant slave population in the 17th and 18th centuries not to mention slave revolts this is the reason why there was a substantial free black population there.
Both Brooklyn and Manhattan had substantial slave populations at the time of the Revolution. Slavery slowly was eliminated in the first two decades of the 19th Century and these free blacks were the backbone of the founding of Weeksville. By the 1840s the community was receiving escaped slaves from the South. In 1863 it received some refugees from the Draft Riots as well.
 
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BlueandGrayl

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#59
Both Brooklyn and Manhattan had substantial slave populations at the time of the Revolution. Slavery slowly was eliminated in the first two decades of the 19th Century and these free blacks were the backbone of the founding of Weeksville. By the 1840s the community was receiving escaped slaves from the South. In 1863 it received some refugees from the Draft Riots as well.
Brooklyn back then was its own city and was not annexed into New York City as a borough until 1874 during Reconstruction and after the Civil War had ended.
 



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