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Weeksville Heritage Center and the Richmond Barthé Frieze at the Kingsborough Houses, Places That Matter

weeksville heritage center

The Weeksville Heritage Center and the Richmond Barthé frieze at the Kingsborough Houses, are both connected to African American history and culture, located steps away from each other in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Weeksville Heritage Center, at 1698-1708 Bergen Street, includes the wood-frame Hunterfly Road houses—the last remaining residential artifacts of a 19th century African American community, built in the years of slavery’s demise in New York. The community was named for James Weeks, an African American who bought a parcel of Brooklyn land in 1838. The late, remarkable Joan Maynard helped transform the houses into a museum, and the site is fully restored and open to visitors. Contact them at 718-756-5250 or www.weeksvillesociety.org.

Barthé’s beautiful 80’ frieze, near 1180 Pacific St., features African-inspired figures in scenes derived from Exodus and a 1930 African American theater piece called The Green Pastures. Appreciative neighbors sometimes just call it “the Wall.” Its creator Richmond Barthé, an African American and accomplished figurative sculptor, crafted this piece when he was brought onto the Works Progress Administration sculpture team in the 1930s.