Monday, October 26, 2009

Around Middletown in 80 Days: Day 63

Middletown’s Piece of the Connecticut Freedom Trail

This trail throughout Connecticut traces the history of African-Americans as they made their long journey from slavery to freedom. In Middletown two points are marked, the Benjamin Douglas House on South Main St. (a private home), which was a stop on the underground railway, and the West Burying Ground at Vine and Washington St, where there are a number of graves of African-Americans who fought in the Civil War.

Also part of this Freedom Trail is a neighborhood of small houses that line Vine and Cross streets, which were once home to Middletown’s working class black families (they now house mostly Wesleyan students). What is now the Cross Street A.M.E. Zion church was founded in 1823 and the first church was erected in this neighborhood in 1829 on Cross Street. Then it was called the Freedom Church for its abolitionist activities.

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