The public is invited to join members of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and students April 14-15 and April 21-22 from 1-5 p.m. as they excavate the Beman Triangle area of town in search of artifacts, according to the Hartford Courant.
Middletown Patch has several stories (see links below) detailing the history of the prosperous African-American community founded by freed slave Leverett Beman in 1847.
The secrets lurking in the history of the Beman-AME Zion Historic Neighborhood, a small triangle formed by Cross Street, Vine Street, and Knowles Avenue, are not yet all uncovered. But the neighborhood’s value is certain: It is the only known and proven example of a housing development built by and for free, African-American families in the pre-Civil War North.
Leverett's second wife, Clarissa, started the Colored Female Anti-Slavery Society and Leverett, with the men in his church and several white citizens of town, worked tirelessly toward the same efforts through the Middletown Anti-Slavery Society. A group from the church went before the Connecticut General Assembly, the equivalent of the modern state legislature, in 1839, again in 1847 and yet again in 1865, to appeal for the right to vote. With no success.
The families were active on the Underground Railroad in Middletown and spoke out against the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Leverett and the local families were also active in the Middletown Temperance Society that encouraged black men to refrain from alcoholic spirits.