The Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. preserves one of the first free black communities in America. Weeksville was formed in 1838 by African-American longshoreman James Weeks, 11 years after New York abolished slavery. It became a self-sustained community where black people were able to live, thrive and lead successful lives.

Black-owned businesses in Weeksville.
Photo: Weeksville Heritage Center

Unfortunately, 2019 proved to be a difficult year for the center. It faced the threat of closing down, due to a lack of financial resources and donations. With the help of Black Twitter, activists and local media, the center raised enough funds to stay open—at least, until later this year. Rob Fields, president and executive director of Weeksville Heritage Center, says the center’s livelihood will depend on the flow of future donations.

Watch the video above for a look into the history of Weeksville and what you can do to help the historic center stay afloat.