Reimagining Little Liberia: Restoration and Reunion Exhibit
Coming Fall 2017
In 1841, W. P. Johnson wrote, “Bridgeport [Connecticut] is a handsome place, and the people know how to entertain strangers. I think the [Colored Temperance] Convention next year ought to be held there again, as I do not think that it was generally known.” Indeed, the story of how blacks and Native Americans from Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, New York, and the West Indies transformed an isolated, undesirable part of town into a thriving, “peri-urban multiethnic enclave” in the early-nineteenth century is generally not known to many. The lack of historical data on this free community of color has rendered its legacies of freedom, entrepreneurship, and cultural innovation invisible to our present landscape. This exhibition provides a full sensory introduction to Little Liberia, its people, its surviving architecture, and its cultural geography. As visitors engage multimedia installations, they also discover this neighborhood’s potential for creating a historically sustainable community today.