Weeksville Heritage Center in DangerCommunity Comes to Help

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The Weeksville Heritage Center was founded in 1838 to preserve the history of Americans of African descent who formed the community they named Weeksville. These pioneers, whose spirits can be felt in the remaining Hunterfly Road Houses where they lived, are now honored with a contemporary Center that remembers their legacy and celebrates their culture. In February 1997, the founding executive director Joan Maynard told Our Time Press, “Everyone should know James Weeks. According to the 19th century census, he could not read nor write, but he managed to inspire a resolution that was published in a newspaper so that we can read about it. When he acquired part of the vast Lefferts family estate and formed homesites for his friends and neighbors, I am sure he was thinking about passing something on to future generations… These buildings are a testament to that legacy.” Rob Fields, current President & Executive Director, continues Ms. Maynard’s journey to “preserve memories of self.”

 

May 8, 2019

Dear Friends:

Weeksville needs you.

There’s no other way to put it: Weeksville Heritage Center is in danger of closing.

Rising operating costs and the plain fact of just how hard it is for black cultural institutions to get and maintain adequate funding is putting all the work we do in jeopardy.

Of course, we’re doing everything we can to avoid closing.  But we need your help.

Earlier this week, we launched a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising at least $200,000. This money will enable us to continue to operate through the summer and early fall while we develop a plan to fund Weeksville for long-term sustainability.

New structure is a gateway to historic houses on the premises, with state-of-the-art
exhibition, performance and educational facilities.

Weeksville Heritage Center is the only African American historic site of its kind in Brooklyn and preserves the history of one of the largest free Black communities of pre-Civil War America, Weeksville, Brooklyn. Weeksville was an incredible example of Black freedom, Black empowerment and Black self-determination. The focus of our work is maintaining three landmarked houses from the mid-19th and early 20th century and, through them, the rich history they represent. Through our arts amd culture and educational programming, as well as collections and historic preservation work, we make this inspiring history relevant and resonant for folks like you and for future audiences.

In 2018 we welcomed over 14,000 visitors vs. 7,000 in 2017.

As those who love Weeksville know, the loss to Central Brooklyn–and to New York City — would be devastating. We’re asking for your help to not only protect and preserve the Houses, but also ensure that we don’t lose:

  • Our ability to inspire over 6,000 NYC schoolchildren who tour our grounds annually
  • The means to preserve and make available collections that document and interpret historic Weeksville, its rediscovery, and our unique grassroots institutional history
  • The training and workshops that educate and empower the community to be the custodians of their own memories and history
  • The ability to bring high-quality arts & culture programming to an underserved Central Brooklyn community.

Help us protect the dream of James Weeks and those original black investors who bought the land that would become Weeksville.  Help us protect the dream of Dr. Joan Maynard and those working people from the community who found time to save the Historic Hunterfly Road Houses from demolition and envisioned a Black museum that would bring pride to Central Brooklyn.

Please support our fundraising campaign. You can donate online here:

https://bit.ly/SaveWeeksville

Or you send your donations via a check made out to “Weeksville Heritage Center” to:

 

Weeksville Heritage Center

158 Buffalo Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11213

Attn: Rob Fields

 

With gratitude,

Rob Fields

President & Executive Director