More than a Tour, An Experience By Bernice Elizabeth Green Huddled on an expanded parcel of land in Central Brooklyn, the historic Hunterfly Road Houses are designated as New York City landmarks and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in the 1830s by James Weeks, a black stevedore, the village of Weeksville survived well into the early 20th century. Weeksville had its own schools and churches, an orphanage, an old age home, and one of the first AfricanAmerican newspapers- The Freedman’s Torchlight. During the violent draft riots of 1863, the community served as a refuge for hundreds of AfricanAmericans who fled Manhattan. It was home to ministers, teachers and other professionals, including the first female AfricanAmerican physician in New York State, and the first AfricanAmerican police officer in New York City. “The village was an economic, political, cultural and social base for African Americans during that time. Any way you define it, the Weeksville community was (an example of) community building from scratch.” According to Greene, the community’s focus on strength, entrepreneurism, creativity and a sense of wanting to build something is still going strong. Settled by AfricanAmericans from all over the East Coast following the end of slavery in New York State, these houses are also good examples of homes of free people of color in the urban North. These homes have been continuously inhabited, primarily by AfricanAmericans, from their construction until their acquisition by the Weeksville Society in 1968. The buildings are now each rehabbed and “dressed” in the accoutrements of four different periods of time, representing the 183 Os, 1860s, 1900s and 1930s. Working from a “furnishings plan,” the center’s “old house” consultants scoured the Northeast for items that matched the style of each room. The sage green, ochre and mustard yellow colors are based on chip analysis. The truetoperiod artifacts and historically accurate reproductions frame moments in the history of the houses: the Currier and Ives’ Death of Lincoln ink illustration, the December 3, 1847, issue of The North Star newspaper, “Electric Brand” labels of canned food manufactured in Oneida, New York, refurbished hand carved chairs with horsehairstuffed cushions, “The Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin” on a curio shelf, an authentic Jerome & Company Pendulum Clock, and a poster entitled “Distinguished Colored Men” with images of prominent politicians and churchmen positioned around Frederick Douglass. At Weeksville, there is a living legacy that is not proverbial; it is real. Bernice Jenkins, in her 80s, and her centenarian sister, had a say in the kinds of furnishings installed in the house at No. 1698. The duo had every right to have some influencetheir family first rented a home and then owned it for many years. Their father built the French doors separating the living room from the dining room. Since they were a religious family, an old
Tag "Weeksville Heritage Center"
By: Akirah Harris, Desiree Henderson, Janiyah Hughes, Ailec Lasalle, Chasity Patrick, Jayla Shuler, Janae Singleton, Amya Torres, Ranasia White, Maurice Williams, Students Deborah Alexander and Jean Derico, Supervising Teachers On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, after invited 2nd and 3rd grade
The quiet voice of Ms. Joan Maynard, the artist-archaeologist-preservationist who devoted nearly four decades before her death in 2006 to preserving four wood-frame cottages, would be raised in delight yesterday when The Weeksville Heritage Center celebrated the completion of its
Inaugural National Black Farmers Conference at Brooklyn College A Success, Poised to Grow a Green Movement Throughout Black America
By David Kene Last weekend, November 19-21, the first annual conference to forge food, farming and policy solutions for the Black Community convened at Brooklyn College in New York City, convening farmers, gardeners, activists, students and community leaders from across