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Weeksville Heritage Center

About this listing

Houses belonging to 19th century free-black community

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Weeksville
Residential, Highlights in Central Brooklyn, African/ American, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile

In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, right across the street from the Kingsborough Projects, stand four small wood-frame houses that are the last traces of Weeksville, a nineteenth-century African-American community. The community was named after James Weeks, an African-American from Virginia who bought the plot of land in 1838. Although he had no education, he played a key role in developing this thriving settlement of free blacks, whose community building and social and cultural achievements have been rediscovered by the Weeksville Heritage Center and are commemorated here.

In 1968, the dilapidated little group had been scheduled for demolition, to make way for more housing projects. Just in time, a historian/engineer team on the trail of local black history flew over the area and spotted the four houses on an oddly situated curving lane that bore no relation to the modern grid system. The lane turned out to be a remnant of an...

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Nominations

E. Williams

A nationally recognized pioneer in the study of 19th-century African American culture, this museum of four historic houses tells the story of an early free-black community of several hundred residents, a school, church and other institutions.


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