As Brooklyn boomed in the century after the Civil War, the small community of Weeksville, originally founded by a group of Free Black families shortly after New York State abolition, was enveloped and nearly forgotten. In 1968, four original Weeksville cottages were re-discovered and preservationists raced to preserve a unique piece of New York and Black history. The result of the preservation efforts is the Weeksville Heritage Center, which is charged with preserving the remaining antebellum homes and showcasing the art and history of the African Diaspora.
What You Will See
Visitors are invited on a tour of the historic homes, lovingly restored to period splendor and filled with artifacts that would have originally filled the humble houses. In addition to the historic homes, the center hosts a variety of exhibitions and events. Exhibitions look both at the past and the future: 19th-century events are recounted along with side contemporary artworks exploring Black culture in New York and the United States. It is a fascinating look not only at a nearly-lost corner of Brooklyn history but at the future of Black culture communities like Weeksville have inspired.
Why You Should Go
New York City is filled with historic homes from the 19th-century that welcome visitors to step back into the past. But where many of the other homes are preserved because of the prominence of their original owners, the homes in Weeksville were not families of wealth and power. Weeksville is a demonstration of the power of community, especially in marginalized groups like Black Americans in the 19th century. This is a rare opportunity to step back in time and experience New York from a completely unique point of view.