By Amber Diaz on NBC Connecticut on June 15, 2022
The Witness Stones Project is a K-12 educational initiative started in Connecticut. Its mission is to “restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved people who helped build our communities.”
As a former eighth grade history teacher with a passion for the past, Dennis Culliton understands each story of an enslaved person is different, but equally as important as the next. It drove him to start the project, emulated after the Stolpersteine in Germany.
“I saw the power of this unknown history, this hidden history that was there in the archives that was sitting there and whom better than the students to tell that story,” Culliton said. Continue reading.
On June 6, 2022, students from CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts honored the lives of Abda and Hannah in Hartford, Connecticut. We invite you to watch the ceremony here.
Monday, June 6, 2022
Connecticut’s Old State House
Hosted by the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts at
The Old State House
800 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut
CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts will bring the community together to remember and honor Abda and Hannah and to place Witness Stones in their memory.
The Witness Stones Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities, today announced a new affiliation with CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.
A generous grant from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund will allow the school to use the Project’s curriculum and landscape markers to expand their teaching of the history of slavery in colonial Connecticut.
The Witness Stones Project’s Local Corporate Partner in Hartford, Pro Bono Partnership, is also providing crucial support.
Students will examine primary source documents, such property, church, and vital records; wills and probate inventories; and census data, in order to understand the reality of slavery and to restore the memory of those individuals who were enslaved. They will learn how to document and describe the dehumanization and paternalism of slavery; the economic and legal framework that supported slavery; and, the agency, resistance, and contributions of the enslaved to our local and national history. Finally, these students will be inviting their community to witness as they install memorial stones for individuals who were enslaved in their town.
The Witness Stones Project was founded in 2017 in Guilford, Connecticut. Since then, the Project has expanded to work with affiliated institutions in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
The CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts provides a rigorous college-preparatory academic education and pre-professional arts education in a an equitable, culturally competent environment.
The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund’s mission is to achieve equity in education by working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty.
Pro Bono Partnership, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, provides free business and transactional legal assistance to other nonprofits. The Partnership recruits and supports volunteer attorneys with a range of specializations to help nonprofits in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York achieve their goals, avoid risk, increase capacity, and better serve their constituencies.
Witness Stones Project Founder and Executive Director joined Capitol Region Education Council teacher and Central Connecticut State University Public History graduate student Kaitlyn Oberndorfer for an Evening Conversation at Connecticut’s Old State House.
We invite you to watch their conversation:
This event was made possible by support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council. The Council has served Connecticut’s capital region for 50 years, providing critical financial and organizational resources to support the arts and cultural sector, as well as helping all people connect with the arts in their community.