Weeksville Heritage Center celebrates 50 years

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BROOKLYN -

The Weeksville Heritage Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Weeksville was one of the first free black communities in the United States. The Buffalo Avenue community was once thriving, with 500 residents, and considered a desirable location for free and formerly enslaved African-Americans.

"It had its own businesses, it had two churches," says Rob Fields, of the heritage center. "Weeksville had its own Colored School No. 2, it had its own retirement home, it had its own orphanage, its own baseball team, its own newspaper."

The community started in 1838, but it wasn't until 1968 that the homes were rediscovered and preserved.

Now 50 years old, many people still don't know the Weeksville Heritage Center exists. Staff members are creating new programs to make the public more aware, with this year's theme being "Rediscover Weeksville."

Among the upcoming events are lectures, art exhibits and a literary series.

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