The Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community is raising funds to create an African American historic site of national stature in the South End of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Mary & Eliza Freeman Houses (circa 1848) are the oldest CT homes built and owned by Blacks. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their significance to African American and Women’s history, the Freeman Houses will be the centerpieces of a museum, research, and education center. The aspirations and achievements of Ethiope, later “Little Liberia” – a seafaring community of free people of color (including Native Americans) – will guide the Center’s activities. And every step of the way, the Center will dedicate itself to improving the lives of area residents by providing new educational and economic opportunities. The Freeman houses are the only two surviving buildings of Little Liberia’s original 33 structures.
Work on the Freeman Houses began on July, 11, 2012 with the deconstruction of later, non-historic additions. Our training and apprenticeship program provided displaced workers with “green” construction skills, and jobs, as well. The original homes were built by the Freeman sisters, successful chefs and investors, before the end of US slavery, before women had the right to vote. We have just about shored up the houses and buttoned them up for the winter.
On October 24, 2012 – United Nations Day – we will have the honor of marking the end of deconstruction and the start of restoration with a visit from the Ambassador of Liberia. Liberia and Little Liberia will unite for groundbreaking to symbolize the creation of a world-class history center and the revitalization of Bridgeport’s historic South End. Make history! Join us at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn for the Ambassador’s Luncheon on Wednesday, October 24th from noon to 2:00 (and at the “Taste of Africa” on October 20th) to support this project and celebrate community. If you cannot join us, please consider making a donation. Checks should be made payable to the ABCD Freeman Fund. Donations are tax-deductible.