Remember that Connecticut's colonial wealth came from farming and
shipping, two endeavors with deep ties
to slavery. What was your town's early history? Was it a farming
community? What kinds of food were grown?
Who were its founders? What kinds of
enterprises were they involved in? Where did their money come from?
Money in the old days worked the way money does now: It bought things. Men who made money provisioning the sugar islands often bought land, built great houses for themselves and their families, were generous with their communities and left money to their children. Jeremiah Wadsworth of Hartford, for example, was successful in the Caribbean trade, bought and sold slaves, and left a fortune to his son Daniel, who built the first public art museum in America, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.
Did your town have a newspaper or newspapers during the eighteenth
century? Are there copies at your local
historical society or library? The
Connecticut State Library and the Connecticut
Historical Society both maintain large archives
of old newspapers from around the state
and may have copies of a newspaper
once published in your town.
The pages of the New London Summary and Gazette from
the eighteenth century are filled with
advertisements for enslaved people
who ran away and for people being sold.
Local newspapers will also occasionally
report on the lives of Connecticut's
free blacks, and while such reporting needs to be
read carefully to account for the biases
of the reporters; nonetheless, such
reporting can provide a window into
the lives and struggles of Connecticut's
African Americans..... next >>