The Legacy Project

The Legacy Project is a continuum of James Weeks’ self-determining actions. Upon the purchasing of land in 1838, Weeks, a freedman, initiated what became the second largest known independent Black community in pre-Civil War America. A deeply engaged community, Weeksville residents established their own school, orphanage, cemetery, old age home, benevolent society, one of the rest African- American newspapers, and even their own churches.

All but forgotten until the late 1960’s, urbanization threatened to erase the physical memory by destroying the few remaining homes. In 1968, a small group of community activists rediscovered these four dilapidated houses that were rare residential remnants of historic Weeksville. is rediscovery led to the restoration of the Hunterfly Road Houses, and the formalization of the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History, later known as Weeksville Heritage Center.

WHC is a living monument to African American freedom and self-determination. Weeksville advances its mission through history, preservation, visual and performing arts, ecology, and the built environment.

The Legacy Project will continue this evolution through activating WHC’s archives, building annual public programs, public training workshops, and an internship program for students of color. We see the participation of our larger community as vital to honoring the spirit of James Weeks’ initial actions and sustaining WHC’s mission. We invite you to join in the heralding of our legacy together.


This project is supported by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Mellon Foundation, and the Kenan Charitable Trust.



Inspired by our current Fashioning the Women of Weeksville exhibition, The Legacy Project presents "Community Curating: Stitching Together the History of a People". 

This conference will include artists, writers, academics, curators, and other members of the Weeksville community who have devoted themselves to understanding fashion in black communities.




black foodways

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Whether in celebration, mourning, or fellowship, gathering to break bread has always been integral to the Black experience. The Legacy Project continues with "Black Foodways", a daylong community gathering that will include conversations, a workshop, and the collection of oral histories connecting land, food, healing, and liberation.


sustainability of black archives

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On October 7th, we are rounding up the entire Weeksville Heritage Center family to discuss our history and archival collections. The workshops throughout the day will be great guides to help you develop a personal archiving practice to keep the memories of self.

Homegrown participants include Jennifer Scott (former WHC’s Vice Director and Director of Research), Megan Goins-Diouf (former Resource Center Manager), current WHC staff members, and The Legacy Project interns.

The Archival Text

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The Archival Text is a conceptual framework that describes the intersection of creative writing and historical documentation. During this event, we'll interpret and engage this concept through writing workshops, intergenerational conversations, a special workshop for teens, and a guided tour of WHC’s Hunterfly Road Houses.

Space is limited, so registration is required for all workshops.


Opening - 12:00PM-12:45PM

Featured writers will read excerpts of their work; and Joyce LeeAnn Joseph (archivist, interdisciplinary artist, and Public Programs Manager for TLP) will share grounding remarks and provide an orientation.


Workshops - 1:00PM-2:30PM

Magic & Memory: The Writer as Civil War Witness - Two-time Weeksville Heritage Center writer-in-residence Zetta Elliott will offer a creative writing class for teens. Designed for beginners, this 90-minute workshop will offer an introduction to historic Weeksville and an opportunity to write creatively about the 1863 New York City Draft Riots. Participants will read teenaged Maritcha Lyons' first-hand account of the riots and consider whether fantasy fiction helps African Americans to remember, reconstruct, and/or recover from the past.


Memory Work: Finding Yourself - Don’t know what to do with those boxes of family papers, journals, work records, etc.? Writer and public archivist Steven Fullwood will help you. His workshop will offer you the opportunity to think critically about your personal records through writing exercises and group activities designed to help you organize and thus better understand your collection.


Speaking Memory from Bones: Improvisational Dig -Multidisciplinary artist and researcher Akeema-Zane will facilitate an experimental cypher where artists can meet to compose. The workshop is concerned with the lyrical form, and participants will see archival excavation as one of infinite ways to evoke a creative writing practice. Centering the sensory and sensational, participants will utilize recorded sound, manuscripts, letters, moving image, essential oils and other unconventional methods to incite this process. Those who are adventurous and/or wishing to break through “writer’s block,” are especially encouraged to partake.


Lunch - 2:30PM-3:30PM

Informal conversations over a delicious meal catered by Tantz Catering.

Guided Tour of the Historic Hunterfly Road Houses 3:45PM-4:45PM

Closing - 5:00PM-6:00PM

Collective processing led by Joyce LeeAnn, and participants can share written works and reflections from the day to the larger group.