In October 2019, Witness Stones West Hartford remembered and honored the lives of six enslaved men and women. We invite you to watch highlights from the ceremony here:
By Ronni Newton in We-Ha.Com on October 24, 2019
History involves the study of what happened in the past, but we all know there is more than one side to most stories.
There are also stories that have yet to be told.
When Tracey Wilson and Liz Devine started the Witness Stones Project in West Hartford, they wanted to find those stories, the stories about the lives of the enslaved people who are a part of the town’s history. People whose made contributions that few, if any, know about today. They wanted to acknowledge that slavery existed in West Hartford, and commemorate the lives of those who were enslaved while at the same time inspiring community conversation. Continue reading.
By Erik Ofgang in Connecticut Magazine on July 24, 2019.
Shortly before the Revolutionary War, an enslaved Connecticut man named Jeffrey Brace was beaten unconscious by his new owner, John Burwell of Milford. Burwell struck Brace with his fists, legs and a chair. In a written account years later, Brace recalled that one blow to his head during the beating was so hard it “pealed [sic] up a piece of my scalp about as big as my three fingers.” After waking up, Brace was subjected to two rounds of whipping and made to walk a quarter-mile barefoot in the winter.
Brace’s visceral, difficult-to-read account of the horrors of slavery in Connecticut is the type of story we don’t often hear about Northeastern states, says Dennis Culliton, a recently retired teacher at Adams Middle School in Guilford. In Connecticut, we’re good at “pointing our fingers south and saying how awful those people were,” he says. But when it comes to confronting our own past, we have more trouble. Continue reading.
Fifth graders in the Renbrook School’s Social Studies, Language Arts, and Arts Class share their work with the Witness Stones Project.
From the Kingswood Oxford School on June 3, 2019
History teacher Katie McCarthy’s Form 5 class addressed our nation’s complicated and painful history of slavery by participating in the Witness Stones Project which “seeks to restore the history and to honor the humanity and contributions of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities” according to the Noah Webster House website.
Over the course of several weeks, KO students learned of Prut, an enslaved man who was owned by John Whitman, Jr. of 208 North Main Street in West Hartford and who died during the Revolutionary War at Fort Tigennderoda in New York. Very little information exists about Prut, and McCarthy said that the more the students researched the man, the more questions arose about him. Continue reading.