Let the prayers be free!

Image courtesy Tedd LevyIn the class of project based learning, we have come across a lot of interesting and various topics that has to do with slavery in the state of Connecticut. Considering the fact that there was slavery in Connecticut is something that a lot of people do not understand. As a class, I want to be able to uncover more about history of slavery in Connecticut and especially in Hartford, CT because I have lived there my whole life. In Hartford, CT I learned about the Faith Congregational church. The Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut began in 1819 as a place for African Americans to worship on their own since they were only allowed to pray in the backs of churches and in church galleries in Hartford. Some African Americans started worshipping in the conference room of the First Church of Christ in Hartford, Connecticut, and it is now called Center Church. This congregation moved to a building on State Street in 1820 and formed the first black Congregational Church in Connecticut and the third oldest in the nation. The church initially called itself the African American Religious Society of Hartford and vowed to create a place of worship where there would be no assigned seating and where anyone was welcome to worship. The congregation purchased property in 1826 where it built a stone-and-brick church on the corner of Talcott and Market Streets. By the 1830s with the rise of the New England abolitionist movement, the church building became an anti-slavery meetinghouse. Popular people spoke at the church in support of abolition, including Rev. Henry Highland Garnet and Arnold Buffman, former president of the New England Anti-Slavery Society. James Pennington, an early church minister and abolitionist, was himself a fugitive slave from Maryland.  Rev. Pennington and his congregation became supporters of the Amistad slave case in neighboring New Haven in 1839-1840 and fought for the release of the captured men, women, and children and their return to West Africa. The church also raised funds for the captives’ legal defense. The church established a school in 1840, which served as the only place in Hartford where black children could obtain an education at that time. That same year, the congregation changed its name to First Hartford Colored Congregational Church. In 1860, another name change took place; the church became the Talcott Street Congregational Church and had several pastors until Rev. Robert F. Wheeler aided in the church’s stability and growing membership in 1886. Eventually the congregation outgrew the church building, and the one-story building was torn down to create a new two-story building in 1906. A couple other things I want to learn is how we can connect Hartford to the rest of slavery that happened in Connecticut.


6 thoughts on “Let the prayers be free!

  1. 16jk

    Good connection between your personal experience and what you want to learn.
    How can we find out the other slavery issues in Hartford, CT?
    It would be better if you add the specific information about what we need to do in the future.


  2. cxcoco

    You provide a bunch of great information about the Faith Congregational church. How can we relate the church to our project, in which aspect? It’s better to add your thoughts about how you want to do the research.


  3. frankwxxxx

    Very rich background information of the Faith Congregation Church itself and related to your person experience. Is there any connections you can make between the evidence and thoughts we have so far that you can connect to the church? Now we have plenty of information of the church, you should explain more of how it will help our investigation in the future.


  4. vicky19970601

    Great information for the origin of Connecticut’s church for African American. How can we connect this to our project on UDRR, does it provide any help for it?



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