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Weeksville Row

Historic Hunterfly Road Houses. (via the Brooklyn Histo cal Society)

Weeksville, Brooklyn, plays an influential and vital role in history as one of the first free Black communities in the United States. In the 1830s — just about a decade after New York state abolished slavery —James Weeks, a freedman, purchased a large chunk of land and created a thriving neighborhood and community. Named after its founder, Weeksville welcomed Black people to join this prosperous haven of over 500 residents, including doctors, teachers, business people, and intellectuals. The area continued to be a bastion for abolitionist and equal rights activism throughout much of the 19th century. 

Although the community’s identity started to wane with the introduction of the street grid system and urban sprawl, the neighborhood’s important history was preserved in the late 1960s with the opening of the Weeksville Heritage Center (Stay tuned — more on that later).