Let’s Go To Brooklyn!
Every heard of Weeksville located in Brooklyn? Neither had I until several years ago when I visited the Weeksville Society Museum located at 1698 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11213, between Buffalo and Rochester Avenues.
The Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC) documents and preserves the history of the free and intentional 19th century African American community of Weeksville. The Hunterfly Road Houses are the original domestic structures of this historic community, dating from 1840 to the 1880’s.
Some history: in 1838, just eleven years after the abolition of slavery in New York, James Weeks, a free African American, purchased some land in Brooklyn, which marked the establishment of Weeksville, a free community of laborers, laundresses, craftsmen, doctors, entrepreneurs and professionals, all African Americans. This community also boasted schools, an orphanage, a home for the elderly, churches and other benevolent associations, newspapers and was very active in anti-slavery activities.
The houses had been threatened by urban renewal near the end of the 1960s until they were granted landmark status in 1971 by the New York City Landmarks Commission, restored and opened to the public in 2005.
Weeksville is now one of the only African American historic sites in the Northeast still on its original property and among the ten most prominent African American cultural organizations in New York City.
In 2009, Weeksville began construction of a new 19,000 square foot Education and Cultural Arts Building set to open in early 2012. This new building will house a performance space, exhibition space, education and workshop rooms, a Resource Center and a media lab.
Sounds like a great place to visit. I visited the original house back in the 1990’s. Definitely intend to revisit once the new building is open. Make this one of your Nuggets in the Hood to see when you come to New York.
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