On Thursday, November 30th the Housatonic Museum of Art will present a thought-provoking lecture about Bridgeport’s seaside village known as Little Liberia. Comprised of freed blacks, runaway slaves and Native Americans, this community began in 1821, just as the township of Bridgeport was incorporated. Follow the growth of this small settlement for ‘free people of color’ into a thriving village with speaker Maisa Tisdale, President & CEO of the Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community, Inc. The lecture will take place at 6:30pm in the Burt Chernow Galleries at the Housatonic Museum of Art located on the Housatonic Community College campus, 900 Lafayette Blvd. in Bridgeport. The event is free, and the community is invited to attend.
“This lecture tells a unique story in our local history, while exploring what freedom meant in pre-Civil War America,” said Robbin Zella, Executive Director of the Housatonic Museum of Art. “The fascinating exhibit, Reimaging Little Liberia, is currently on view.”
The Freeman Center owns, and is restoring, the Mary & Eliza Freeman Houses, the oldest remaining homes built by African Americans in the State (circa 1848). Listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their significance to African Americans and Women, the Freeman Houses are the last original buildings of historic “Ethiope” later called “Liberia or Little Liberia” (circa 1822). The Freeman Center seeks to establish an African American Historic Site of national importance (consisting of a museum, education center, and housing). Ms. Tisdale has advocated for the preservation of the Freeman Houses since 1994, and is a Trustee of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA) is home to one of the premier college art collections in the United States. Its collection offers students and the community alike the opportunity to view works that span the history of art from the ancient to the contemporary. Unique to the Housatonic Community College campus, this permanent collection is on continuous display throughout the 300,000 square foot facility, offering a rare opportunity for both art enthusiasts and casual observers to view and interact with the art on a daily basis. Visit www.HousatonicMuseum.org to learn more.