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

Video Producer @ The Root

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DISCUSSION

This place is such an important spot -- and the beauty of it in its current location an added bonus. They are SUCH a resource for their community -- the gardens, where they teach local kids to grow their own vegetables, the photography classes and writing workshops and support they offer. It deserves to be recognized and supported -- we spend so much money on clothes with other folks’ names on them -- if we just spent a portion of that to help a place like this it would mean everything.

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