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The City Concealed
The City Concealed, an online video series exploring the unseen corners of New York. Visit the places you don’t know exist, locations you can’t get into, or maybe don’t even want to. Each installment unearths New York’s rich history in the city’s hidden remains and overlooked spaces.

Weeksville: An African-American Community Established in the 1800s

The Hunterfly Road Houses of Weeksville are the discovered remnants of a free African-American enclave of urban trasdespeople and property owners.  The community provided safety for fugitive slaves and those later fleeing the Civil War draft riots of lower Manhattan.  By the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, Weeksville was a thriving area with its own doctors, teachers, publishers, and social services.

The Houses help fill a  historical gap between slavery and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.  The Weeksville staff clearly promote the idea of a successful African-American project that can be remembered with pride.

The discussion of Weeksville’s place within an always changing, mostly African-American neighborhood might  forget the fact that it is, for everyone, a fascinating piece of American history with an equally amazing story of that history’s rediscovery.

–bijan rezvani, producer

This episode wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Danielle Officer at Weeksville, Pamela Green, Kadrena Cunningham, Marcia Goldman, the David Rumsey Map Collection, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and Christian Virant and Zhang Jian of The Buddha Machine.

  • comments (21)
  • David Rumsey
  • Sylvia Ross

    Fascinating piece of New York history. Again…you have topped the knowledge that we have. Great.

  • Jeff Ross

    Each installment of The City Concealed series is extremely informative and fascinates me. Keep up the great work.

  • Emily Weiss

    Who knew that these secrets of NY even existed!! All of the segments produced in this series have been a surprise. I’ve learned a more about NY with each new story. I await the next one. Thank you to the producers for uncovering the forgotten treasures of New York’s history.

  • http://spope130@yahoo.com sharon

    judie,
    although we didn’t get to the brooklyn tour, pls check out the Weeksville video. Note, it will be coming on PBS, soon.

  • Cyrille

    Can’t seem to get the video to work

  • Barbara

    MAR 23 09

    Are the BLACK Weeksville Houses in Bed-Sty Brooklyn Firer ‘proof’, sprinklers,etc.?
    Thank you
    Hathor38@aol.com

  • rozydesouza

    I have been in search of such interesting Articles, I am on a holiday its good to see that everyone are trying their best to keep up the Spirit by having such great articles posted.

    Cheers, Keep it up.
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    rozy
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  • Kandee Cooks

    My maternal great-grandfather (Moses P. Cobb) purchased a home in Weeksville in the 1800′s. He was born a slave in 1856 in Kinston, NC. He became his neighborhood’s first black policeman in 1892. So, I know all about Weeksville. http://brooklynrail.org/2003/10/local/lets-make-a-landmark-bed-stuys-weeksville-becomes-a-tourist-attraction

  • Harold Weeks

    This was my first article,keep up the good work.
    thanks

  • Dominic Rickert

    Interesting, my father and family grew up in one of those houses. Not only an African American neighborhood as my grandparents were a biracial couple.

  • donnaf.

    Beautiful piece! Thank You producers…

    I plan to share this INVALUABLE info with my HS students… as we’re often exploring ways to discover more of the truth abt ourselves as people of color and, as young media-makers… to learn more abt the truth in story-telling in these ways.

    Well done!!!

  • Rosemary Clark

    I grew up in the community of Ocean Hill back in the l960′s. My sister and i use to walk down Atlantic Ave. and have passed The st. called Hunterfly St. and never realized that history was right in the doorstep of our community. This is quite astounding To my knowledge. My cousin and i were talking about this amazing Black history in The Bed-Sty Community and plan to visit the Weeksville Heritage Center soon. Thanks for this inspiring piece of history. I feel so proud to know that such valuable knowledge is bridging the gap of the true facts regarding the success of great African American History.

  • Sylvia Pascal

    I was born in Brooklyn in 1944 and lived on Rochester Avenue and Pacific Street in the Kingsborough Houses with my sister, mother and father. I attended PS83 from 1949 to 1955. We walked the two blocks to school every day; either down Bergen Street or Dean Street never knowing the history surrounding us. I came upon your web site while trying to find a picture of PS83. I am putting together a scrapebook containing a written and pictorial account of my lfe for my grandchild. How wonderful to now be able to include the story of Weeksville and the early African Americans that made it possible. Thanks so much!

  • Judy

    This looks fascinating! Anyone know if there are any safety issues in a woman traveling alone to visit Weeksville?

    Thanks!

  • kevin willams

    @judy weeksville is ok now people are renovating,but be careful around weeksville houses because its mixed btwn houses and apartment buildings so its east to run into,try not to travel there at night

  • kevin willams

    @judy weeksville housing project

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    Very good morning! Ive just returned from France, there were billboards everywhere jeux concours gratuits, what does it mean? Thanks!

  • Collette M. Hopkins

    Just visited Weeksville—loved the experience and the tour. I understand that there was a film made by Ed Spriggs and company decades ago. Does any know how I can have access to this film? What an amazing place. We need to share this information with others. What a contrast to the African Buriel Ground!