Here All Along: African Americans in the Windham, CT Area, 1688-1954
February 19, 2022 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans in Connecticut were nearly invisible — here but not always seen, their stories usually unrecorded, their contributions forgotten by their white neighbors. Windham Town Historian Jamie Eves shares his research on Windham’s Black history, beginning with Joe Ginne, an enslaved man who built Windham’s first house, and continuing through the Leason brothers, Jesse and Job, who fought for freedom in the Connecticut Line during the Revolution, to the Jackson family for whom Willimantic’s Jackson Street is named, to Corporal Ceasar Hall who fought for further freedom in the Civil War as part of the 29th CVI, to James Buck the Civil War soldier who left Willimantic for Boston and New York, to Julia Hall, Ceasar’s estranged wife who made her way a laundress and single mother in back-alley brick tenement next to the railroad tracks in the Thread City, and others. Denied jobs in the cotton mills, African Americans and other people of color not only survived, but helped build Windham, Willimantic, and the other mill towns of eastern Connecticut. Their history was different from that of their white neighbors. Eves will present his preliminary research on the subject in an illustrated talk. Audience participation is encouraged. Members are $12 and Non-Members are $15.