The Legacy Project
Weeksville Heritage Center’s The Legacy Project stands for the freedom and right to know, document, and defend one’s own history. Since its emergence in 1838, when James Weeks — a free man — purchased land that would become one of the largest known independent Black communities in pre-Civil War America, Weeksville has represented a space of self-reliance, resourcefulness, transformation, collaboration, celebration, and liberation of Black persons in America.
The Legacy Project stands as a 21st-century interpretation of that self-determining history. Inspired by the autonomy of the Black 19th century historic Weeksville community and the resilience of the 1960s activists and local historians who rediscovered it, we keep this legacy alive and vibrant for future generations. Through our public programming, public training, and internship program for students of color, we offer intentional and inviting spaces to explore the personal, familial, and communal layers of this legacy as well as of your own.
This project is supported by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Mellon Foundation, and the Kenan Charitable Trust.
Grounded in historic content but observant of current affairs, The Legacy Project’s public programs are a series of conversational and interactive events to explore such topics as the Black archive, Black foodways, and community curation. These free programs typically offer meals as a way to break bred and engage in lively discussions in a welcoming and communal environment. All day-long events will include a guided tour of WHC’s historic Hunterfly Road Houses.
The Legacy Project Internship Program supports students of color who are pursuing careers in the fields of libraries, archives, museums, and public history. The program aims to address the lack of diversity in these fields by investing in the training of emerging professionals of color. Archival interns gain experience managing and processing archival materials in various formats. Oral History interns are offered hands-on experience in the collection and processing of oral histories, including research, transcription and auditing, as well as indexing and in some cases interviewing. The Legacy Project internships are offered to four students per year and follow an academic semester cycle.
Public Training Workshops
During the 1960s, there was a burgeoning interest in the narratives of African-Americans as Black consciousness was on the rise. Many folks started to realize the Black history was not a footnote to - but a central part of American history. There was an understanding of the power in collective storytelling and communal listening, and a recognition of the importance of developing the skills and agency to document their individual experiences on their own terms. In that spirit, the Public Training Workshops will encourage participants to discover, preserve, and curate their own legacies by learning oral history interviewing techniques, genealogical research, and digital storytelling skills.