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HARTFORD, CT, August 25, 2004 - Throughout history, Connecticut has played an important role in the African American journey towards freedom, and during September, the Constitution State celebrates this odyssey with several events and cultural happenings during Freedom Trail Month, which offers visitors 82 historic locations associated with this movement. Today, the Connecticut Freedom Trail is considered by many to be a living document.

Included on the trail are buildings reported to have been used for the Underground Railroad, sites associated with the Amistad case of 1839-1842 (depicted in the award-winning Steven Spielberg film, such as the Old State House in Hartford where the groundbreaking trial was held), and gravesites, monuments, homes, and other structures that represent the concept of freedom so cherished in the American mind. The Freedom Trail is designed to help those who visit some or all of the locations gain a greater appreciation for the experiences and contributions of African Americans.

A free brochure and additional information on the Freedom Trail is available by contacting the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism at 1-800-CT BOUND (1-800-282-6863), or view online at www.ctbound.org and click onto 52 Getaways, scroll down to Special Interest Trails and click on Connecticut Freedom Trail.

As part of this month-long celebration, Connecticut will host an array of events to commemorate and educate. A sampling of events includes:

  • All on Fire: A Day of Conversation and Camaraderie, Brooklyn & Canterbury, CT
    The Prudence Crandall Museum invites travelers to follow in the footsteps of key early 19th century abolitionists Prudence Crandall - also designated as the State's Heroine - William Lloyd Garrison, Sarah Harris and Rev. Samuel J. May as actors recreate some of the events and discussions that brought these historical figures together. All presentations will take place at sites located in the historic districts of Brooklyn and Canterbury.

 - 11 a.m. Friendship Valley Bed & Breakfast: Visitors can commemorate the 170th wedding anniversary of Helen Benson and William Lloyd Garrison.

- 12 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Society's Meeting House: Visitors can experience one of Rev. May's sermons.

- 3 p.m. Prudence Crandall Museum: Prudence Crandall re-enactor will greet guests into her home, which is also the site of New England's first academy for African-American girls. In addition, travelers can participate in the annual "Prudence Crandall Day" activities, which include historic potters, weavers, spinners, woodcarvers, a bake sale and musical entertainment.

Date: September 4. "Prudence Crandall Day" activities will run from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Depending on space available, tickets can be purchased the day of the event at the Friendship Valley Bed & Breakfast.

  • Farmington Walking Tour, Farmington, CT
    Steeped in African-American history, the Farmington Freedom Trail includes Underground Railroad safe houses that hid runaway slaves, and historical sites connected to the Amistad case. Sites include: the Lewis and Cowles homes, both of which hid runaway slaves; Riverside Cemetery, where an Amistad African was buried after drowning; and the Deming Store, where the Amistad Africans attended school on the second floor. For more information, call (860) 678-1645. Date: Saturday, September 11 at 2 p.m. Cost is a $5.00 donation and begins at First Congregational Church located at 75 Main Street in Farmington.
  • Freedom Schooner Amistad Festival, New Haven, CT
    Travelers can participate in a reception to commemorate the induction of the Amistad into Connecticut's Freedom Trail, which will include dignitaries such as Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Momodu Komar. The Amistad Freedom Schooner, a reproduction of the original vessel on which 53 Mende Africans rebelled against their illegal capture by Spanish slave-traders, was built at the Mystic Seaport shipyards during 1999-2000. Sailing from its home port in New Haven, the Amistad serves as a floating classroom with onboard and dockside exhibits, and brings together various cultures by advancing the ideals of liberty, justice and equality. In addition to the reception, travelers can enjoy a wide variety of cultural activities by the Sierra Leone Cultural Society. For more information, call (203) 387-0370. The festival will be held on September 18 from 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. The event is free and will be held at Long Wharf Pier in New Haven.

For more information, please call 1-800-CT BOUND (1-800-282-6863) or log onto www.ctbound.org.

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Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism:
Ed Dombroskas
Tourism Division Director
Tel: (860) 270-8080
E-mail: edward.dmobroskas@po.state.ct.us


Yankee Ingenuity

"So I'm a Yankee...Why I could make anything a body wanted...and if there wasn't any quick new-fangled way to make a thing, I could invent one."

Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court

  1. Locks and clocks were big business in Connecticut in the Industrial Revolution and you can see the largest collections of both on this getaway. The Lock Museum of America, I-84 Exit 38 in Terryville has 22,000 items tracing the history of the American lock industry.
  2. American production clocks fill the rooms of the American Clock & Watch Museum, off Rte. 6 in Bristol.
  3. Then head south to Cheshire and visit

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