Weeksville Heritage Center- A Brief History
Weeksville Heritage Center is a historic house museum in Brooklyn, New York City. It is located in the Crown Heights neighborhood near the Brooklyn Museum. The center is dedicated to preserving the history of Weeksville, one of the first free African American communities in the United States. The community of Weeksville was founded in 1838 by James Weeks, a free African American man who purchased land in the village of Brooklyn. Weeksville quickly became a thriving community of free black people who built their own homes, churches, and businesses. The congregation continued to grow throughout the nineteenth century, and by the early twentieth century, it boasted a population of over two thousand people. Learn more here.
However, by the mid-twentieth century, the community of Weeksville had all but disappeared. Urban renewal projects in the 1960s and 1970s destroyed many original homes, and the community's population dwindled. In 1968, a group of Brooklyn residents led by James Hurley rediscovered Weeksville. They began to collect oral histories and artifacts from the community, and in 1971 they founded the Weeksville Society to preserve the history of the community. The Weeksville Heritage Center was opened to the public in 2005. The center houses a museum that tells the story of the community of Weeksville and a restoration of some of the original homes. The center also offers programs and events focusing on African American history and culture. Learn more about The hidden gem of St. John's Park.