From Slavery to Freedom: Restoring the History of Eleven Generations of an African American Family through the Witness Stones Project with Dennis Culliton
February 20 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am| Free
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The presentation will share the history of an African American family that was captured and brought to Boston in 1728. From that start, we will explore eleven generations, three in captivity, of a family that includes a “King of the Slaves,” a Presbyterian minister, a weather profit, a Tuskegee Airman, to a living state representative who was the first woman of color elected in a rural district in Connecticut in 2018. Culliton will share primary documents, anecdotes, and other materials used to uncover this story. He will also explain how this family story was the foundational research used to create and spread the Witness Stones Project from Guilford, Connecticut and beyond.
Dennis Culliton is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Witness Stones Project. He retired from twenty-five years of teaching history in 2019 to pursue this project full time. He holds a B.A. in Anthropology from UMass Amherst, a M.A. in Teaching History from Quinnipiac University and a Sixth-Year degree from the University of New England. Prior to teaching, Dennis served four years in the U.S. Marines and was employed as a civilian Contract Administrator for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Dept. of Energy, and the U.S. Coast Guard. He lives in Guilford with his wife of 42 years and their dog Oscar with adult children and a grandchild close by.
The Witness Stones Project seeks to restore the history and honor the humanity and contributions of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities. Inspired by the Stolperstein project in Germany (and with their blessing), it bears witness by installing a marker which recalls an enslaved individual at a site of significance, such as where they lived, worked, or prayed. We cannot change the past, but we can, through this project, give a voice to the voiceless by uncovering their stories. We partner with local schools and historical societies to assist students in researching the history of an enslaved individual from their community and reconstructing the memory of that person through the written record.
Zoom room opens 30 minutes early.