From Maisa Tisdale, president of the Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community
Liberian Ambassador Jeremiah C. Sulunteh will visit Bridgeport Wednesday to attend a luncheon and ground-breaking for the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community. The Ambassador’s attendance is at the behest of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who has taken a personal interest in the project.
The Freeman Center buildings are part of Bridgeport’s historic “Little Liberia,” a bustling African community from the 1820s to the 1850s. The homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are the only remnants of the antebellum African community, one of few such communities left in New England.
“Her Excellency Sirleaf apologized for not being able to attend the groundbreaking,” said Maisa Tisdale, President and CEO of the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community. She added that, at the luncheon, the Ambassador will address issues in Liberia, the importance of the center and answer questions. One of the issues he is expected to address is the new ECOWAS* passport.
Mayor Bill Finch also is expected to attend.
The luncheon will be held at 12:30 p.m. at Walter’s AME Zion Church, 12 Gregory St., Bridgeport, where all of ‘Celebrate Little Liberia’ week events have been held. Groundbreaking ceremony will be at 2 p.m. at the houses, 354 and 360 Main St., followed by a Children’s Reception and Public Address back at Walter’s Memorial at 3:45 p.m.
On Monday, Oct. 22, graduates of the Green Team program, who completed Phase 1 of restoration of the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center, were to have been recognized at 6 p.m. The Green Team deconstructed the non-historic portions of the Freeman Houses. Fifteen unemployed minority residents were trained in deconstruction techniques at the site. During the project historic elements hidden in the structure were unearthed.
The celebration began last Saturday with the Taste of Africa, which included both Liberian and Ethiopian food, as historic references to the neighborhood also named it ‘Ethiope.’ African immigrants provided the dishes.
Tickets for the luncheon are $40. Call 203-895-2469.
Donations to ABCD Freeman Fund are tax deductible.