Everyday Democracy Partners with the CT Historical Society for a Talkback – Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow

June 13, 2019

On June 6, 2019 a dozen Hartford-area residents gathered for a Tour and Talkback at the CT Historical Society to reflect on the Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow exhibit and the many related challenges we still face today. 

The evening began with a walk through of the exhibit, and then continued with a conversation, led by Everyday Democracy’s Sagacity Walker that addressed questions like:  “What does citizenship mean to you? How did white supremacy interrupt black citizenship during Jim Crow? And what are some parallels between black citizenship during Jim Crow and black citizenship in modern America?”

Most of the exhibit at the CT Historical Society is on loan from the New York Historical Society until September, with a few exceptions.  One item added to the exhibit is a dress from Rebecca Primus. Rebecca Primus was born in 1836, the daughter of a prominent Black Connecticut family who went to the South at the request of the Hartford Freedmen’s Aid Society to teach newly freed slaves during Reconstruction. Primus was a determined, spirited, and intelligent Christian woman who became a schoolteacher. She risked her life by leaving Hartford for the South after the Civil War to establish a school for newly freed slaves in Royal Oak, Maryland.  As a result, she had insight into the differences between life in the northeast and in the Jim Crow south, and how those differences impacted her life.

At the close of the talkback, the group noted that many things were different between then and now, but still, many things are the same.  School systems were segregated then, and many are segregated now.  There was voter suppression then, and through gerrymandering and limits to access, there is still voter suppression now.

The group also identified strategies for how we can collectively move forward to improve the state of black citizenship today, and to create a more inclusive, representative society for all.

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow - comprehensive classrom materials here.  The exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society is open through September 14, 2019.

Here is more information about the New York Historical Society Museum and Library Exhibit



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