By Sophie Christensen on We-Ha.com on June 9, 2021
In a January Letter to the Editor, Aliza Sadiq and Regina Miller (two Kingswood Oxford students) asked the West Hartford Town Council to rename New Street in Blue Back Square. They wish to honor Peleg Nott, who had been enslaved in West Hartford but according to research was an extraordinary man eventually elected to the honorable position of “Black governor.”
After their research for the Witness Stones Project, Aliza and Regina discovered shocking truths about the history of slavery in town. There were about “70 people enslaved in West Hartford alone, which is double the number we thought it was four years ago,” they said in the letter. Continue reading.
Seventh-grade students from the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School wrote poems they wrote to tell the life stories of Jenny Freeman and Lewis Lewia.
By Ilona Binch
Sun shining through the windows.
Children running through the halls.
There were joyful voices in the air
Even though nothing was right at all.
I was knitting socks and gloves
For children that weren’t mine.
My children worked for families that weren’t ours.
Their children got toys – my children got scars.
My body was their property.
To the Noyes my enslavers.
I took care of their children,
But my thoughts were of mine.
When I was “Old Jenny,”
I worked and worked not even getting a penny.
I would care, and I would clean.
I was nothing, not even a thing
When I was a “Freeman,”
I was something
I helped others be free like me.
No one should have to suffer the indignities of slavery.
Students at Witness Stone affiliate the Salisbury School have been uncovering the history of slavery in Northwest Connecticut. Here they present the life of Elizabeth Freeman.
“This movie has forced us to confront history that challenges our perception of who we are and how we became a country. Looking at the contributions local families of color like the Mars and the Cesars have had on our communities has really opened our eyes. In turn, our aim is to use our work to help form a more complete and inclusive history that highlights the contributions of all Americans. This project is not about simply uncovering the history of one Black family in America, it is also about completing the inaccurate and incomplete history of our diverse American Family.” -Nicholas Gray, Producer
Listen to the interview here.
Salisbury School student Caleb May leads a discussion about the film Coloring Our Past with Cesar family descendants and friends.
Among several class projects, this film is one of three documentaries students from Salisbury School’s Searching for Slavery class have created over the course of the year to carry out their mission of educating the public about this important history, rewriting the stories that have been recorded incorrectly, and uncovering lives that have been ignored or buried.
From the Atlantic Black Box Project on May 22, 2021
Salisbury, Connecticut: Students from Salisbury School’s Searching for Slavery class, in conjunction with the Upper Housatonic Heritage Area, are excited to screen the premiere of their film, Looking for Color on May 26, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. for Noble Horizons. Among several class projects, this film is one of three documentaries students have created over the course of the year to carry out their mission of educating the public about this important history, rewriting the stories that have been recorded incorrectly, and uncovering lives that have been ignored or buried. Continue reading.
From the Litchfield County Times on May 19, 2021
SALISBURY — Noble Horizons, a senior retirement community at 17 Cobble Road, will premiere Coloring Our Past, a film made by Salisbury School students in Rhonan Mokriski’s 2020-21 Searching for Slavery class, on May 26 at 7 p.m.
The film chronicles their discovery of the lost stories of local Black and Indigenous peoples whose contributions have been hidden from history for the last 200-plus years, an announcement said. Throughout the year, the students have conducted extensive research, field work, interviews and other efforts to uncover the lives of people who have long been buried, forgotten, or ignored, the announcement said. Continue reading.