On May 25, 2018, Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC) will open its doors for two blockbuster exhibitions; ‘In Pursuit of Freedom Now!’ a pop up public history exhibit amplifying the roots and wings of activism. ‘Forward Ever! Sacred Ground & Sovereign Space’, a contemporary art exhibit, exploring our creative resilience that seeks to reclaim sovereign spaces where we can be brilliant, black and free.

Using a contemporary lens, In Pursuit of Freedom NOW! will focus on archiving activism as it relates to defining freedom for African-Americans. Harnessing this history, the exhibition sheds light on current issues of social and economic equality, identifying approaches taken in the past and documenting and suggesting options for the future. Beginning with the exploration of documented accounts of freedom during slavery to current realities not bound by popular ideas of freedom relating to physical license.

The exhibition will also analyze a "just society", the inspiration for one of Weeksville's original land investors  James Weeks, a free African American who purchased his first property in 1838, 12 years after slavery was abolished in New York State. Weeksville became a self-contained oasis in the still segregated North. It drew workers, intellectuals, and artists. Black owned businesses, schools, a newspaper, churches and benevolent associations, as well as homes to care for children and the aging were established. By 1850, Weeksville was the second-largest community for free Blacks in the United States.

Through a recursive process, In Pursuit of Freedom NOW! will be the companion project to our permanent exhibition “In Pursuit of Freedom” which takes the visitor on a journey through Brooklyn’s abolitionist and anti-slavery activist past and how they actively shaped the history of both the city and the nation. In Pursuit of Freedom is housed on our Education and Cultural Arts Campus while In Pursuit of Freedom NOW! will expand on the ideas in the initial exhibition and be a tour-able panel exhibition with photographic representations of objects, documents and images from the Weeksville archives, unconventionally and unexpectedly coupled with the oral histories of the growth changes and challenges facing the community over the past 20 years. The themes of emancipation, entrepreneurship, and empowerment are interwoven throughout Weeksville's 180-year history and In Pursuit of Freedom NOW! strives to connect our radical past to our revolutionary future.

In Pursuit of Freedom NOW! is on view through August 3, 2018. Forward Ever! Sacred Ground & Sovereign Space’, closes on June 23, 2018.


Stephanye Watts

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Tiffany Garnett

Danielle Rouse

Brandi Holt

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