Our Featured Exhibit
The Black Experience in New Milford
On December 12, 2021, our museum was ﬁlled with music, fellowship, and pride as we unveiled our Black Experience in New Milford Exhibit. This was the culmination of a year-long journey embarked upon by our curator and a committee of trustees, community members, and descendants of honored Black New Milford families.
This was a true community eﬀort with Underground Railroad quilt squares crafted by the the Senior Center quilters, research assistance by the Congregational Church staﬀ, oral histories ﬁlmed and edited by the Youth Agency Media Production staﬀ, and display panel creation and assistance through Katart Graphics, a local graphic design studio. We are grateful for these partnerships.
This is a permanent exhibit, that chronicles the history of Blacks in the United States from the time of slavery, through the Revolutionary and World Wars, and the journey from Reconstruction to the Great Migration and the Civil Rights Movement. Connecticut and New Milford are the focal points of each historic event with the highlighting of Black military members, leaders, and the many contributions made by Black New Milford Citizens.
We welcome all would like to view this magniﬁcent addition to our museum. Please call or email to schedule an appointment.
On June 19th, 1865 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to oversee the emancipation process of enslaved people. Often President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, delivered on January 1st, 1863, is thought of as the turning point for the freedom of enslaved people in the United States. However, the Emancipation Proclamation was surprisingly limited in the short term. Lincoln stated that “all persons held as slaves” within rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
Of course, in the midst of the Civil War, rebel states had no intention of following any decree from the government they had seceded from. Additionally, the proclamation exempted parts of the Confederacy that had come under Northern control, and only applied to states that had seceded, excluding border states where slavery was still present.
Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the liberation of slaves in Galveston, Texas, marks a real form of freedom for enslaved people. Unlike the Emancipation Proclamation, which for all intents and purposes was symbolic, General Orders No. 3, read by U.S. General Gordon Granger stated: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” In 1866, freedmen in Texas organized “Jubilee Day,” a celebration to commemorate this momentous event.
As of June 17, 2021, Juneteenth is now a federal holiday.
Please call the museum and make an appointment to see our new permanent exhibit “The Black Experience in New Milford”.