The Center’s historic Hunterfly Road Houses via Wiki Commons
The Weeksville Heritage Center has been added to a list of 33 Cultural Institutions Groups (CIG), guaranteeing the museum will have its basic operating costs covered, as Curbed first reported. After revealing its precarious financial position earlier this year, Weeksville launched a crowdfunding campaign in May to meet the Center’s short-term operating costs. The effort ended up bringing in over $266,000 from more than 4,100 donors around the world. The coveted CIG designation—the first new addition in more than 20 years and the first black cultural center in Brooklyn to make the list—means that Weeksville will be able to enjoy greater stability as it continues to share its vital mission with visitors and the community.
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The Hunterfly Road Houses, part of the Center, via Wiki Commons
The Weeksville Heritage Center is dedicated to documenting, preserving and interpreting the history of free African American communities in central Brooklyn and beyond. Built on the site of Weeksville, once the second-largest free black community in Antebellum America, the center maintains the landmarked Hunterfly Road Houses, which are the last standing historical remnants of that remarkable community, and mounts exhibitions, installations, and community programs. But rising operational costs have left the Center in a precarious financial position, and without support, the organization may have to close its doors as early as July. To meet its short-term operating costs, the Weeksville Heritage Center has launched a crowd-funding campaign in the hopes of raising at least $200,000 by June 30th.
, Mon, September 17, 2018
Weeksville’s historic Hunterfly Road Houses via Wiki Commons
After the state of New York State abolished slavery in 1827, the country’s second-largest free black community was established in Brooklyn. Known as Weeksville, today the neighborhood falls a bit under the radar, surrounded by more sought-after neighborhoods like Crown Heights and Bed Stuy. But it’s a charming little enclave, lined with many two-family homes and small brick rowhouses, that has done well to preserve its history. And just down the street from the Weeksville Heritage Center is a new 10-unit rental building at 1520 Prospect Place that just opened an affordable housing lottery for three $2,098/month one-bedrooms.
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Historic Hunterfly Road Houses via the Brooklyn Historical Society
It’s a mighty sounding moniker, but the name “King’s County” also speaks to Brooklyn’s less-than-democratic origins. At the turn of the 19th century, the city of Brooklyn was known as the “slaveholding capital” of New York State and was home to the highest concentration of enslaved people north of the Mason-Dixon Line. But, after New York State abolished slavery in 1827, free black professionals bought land in what is now Crown Heights and founded Weeksville, a self-supporting community of African American Freedman, which grew to become the second-largest free black community in Antebellum America. By 1855, over 520 free African Americans lived in Weeksville, including some of the leading activists in the Abolitionist and Equal Suffrage movements.
More about free black Brooklyn