African American Heritage

Black Bridgeporters

by Michelle Black Smith In 1977, a dedicated group of African American teachers decided to record the history of Black Bridgeporters in the residents’ own words. The Afro-American Education Association (hereafter AAEA) petitioned the CT Humanities Council for funds and technical support. The introduction to the ...

July 27, 2011
Lewis H. Latimer, African American Inventor
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Lewis H. Latimer, African American Inventor

Three famous inventors – Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram Maxim and Thomas Edison – owe their successes, in part, to a young, African-American inventor who lived on Bridgeport’s South End, among a rich population of Irish, African-American, Hungarian and other ethnic groups. Lewis Latimer lived on Whiting ...

February 07, 2011
Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses
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Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses

By:  Charles Brilvitch A community of “free people of color” began to coalesce around the lower reaches of Bridgeport Harbor the same year (1821) that Bridgeport itself came into being.  Comprised of freed blacks born in Connecticut, runaway enslaved persons from southern states, and remnants of ...

Unhidden Public Policies:  Could Historic Redlining be the Reason Bridgeport’s Neighborhoods Remain Racially Divided?
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Unhidden Public Policies: Could Historic Redlining be the Reason Bridgeport’s Neighborhoods Remain Racially Divided?

By Chelsea Gazillo Have you ever wondered why some neighborhoods in Bridgeport have more wealth than others? The disparity between the wealth held by residents of different neighborhoods in Bridgeport – often correlated with the racial composition of each neighborhood – were not created by chance. ...

Viola Louise Smith Bridgeforth:   Making the Most From Extraordinary Times
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Viola Louise Smith Bridgeforth: Making the Most From Extraordinary Times

By Mary K. Witkowski, Editor: Ann Marie Virzi In her 99 years on earth, Viola Bridgeforth, born in 1897, lived through many if not most of the profound changes that African-Americans and women in general experienced in the 20th century. Through all the changes, Viola Bridgeforth ...