When it comes to black history in New York, landmarks like the Apollo Theater or Riverside Church quickly come to mind. But in the confines of the Brooklyn rests The Weeksville Heritage Center, a historic institution in need of preservation.
In a video produced by The Root this week the center, as well as the last remaining homes of Weeksville, are facing closure over the lack of financial resources and donations. “The center’s livelihood depends on the flow of future donations,” President and Executive Director Rob Fields told the outlet.
Weeksville was named after James Weeks shortly after the state abolished slavery in 1827. According to The New York Times, the black longshoreman’s town was a haven for freed black people with the presence of a school, church and the newspaper, The Freedman’s Torchlight. The town was home to a baseball team and the state’s first female black doctor, Susan McKinney Steward.
But a century later, the center has faced several financial burdens. Donors and grants have been less than giving but with the help of black Twitter, a crowdfunding effort helped raise over $200,000. Fields says they’re grateful for the donation but they need more to stay afloat. Their Crowd Wise campaign details if they reach $300,000, the center can begin building an emergency cash reserve.
“Everyone should adopt a black institution that they care about,” he said. “A lot of black people feel like, ‘Well, this costs a million dollars. People need to write four, five $20,000 checks.’ But the truth is if you decided to give $5, $10 or $20 a month, to an institution you cared about, a couple of people, those organizations would be better for it. it wouldn’t solve all the problems but it would give them a base of unrestricted cash they can count on and from there, they can grow.”
Learn more about Weeksville in the video below.