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What does good learning look like?

Unhidden History

By Middle School Head Jenny Esposito

This winter, special guests from Hidden History joined our eighth-grade social studies classes to study the institution of slavery in colonial Hartford. Under the tutelage of these master teacher-historians, students conducted original primary source research of maps, wills, church baptismal and marriage records, and inventories to uncover the story of an 18th-century enslaved Hartford family. Through the study of one family – Andrew, Tamar, Lydia, Andrew, and Isabella – students explored the geography, religion, economy, and daily life of Hartford colonists; expanded their understanding of the institution of slavery in the colonies; and participated in the authentic work of historians. As historians do, they asked many questions, some for which they found answers and many for which they were left wondering.

On Thursday, our students presented their findings to Christine Jewell, a museum professional and historian, whose organization works with the historic Center Church in Hartford where the family worshiped and their enslaver served as a reverend. A committee of five student volunteers designed a slideshow presentation for our guest. Additionally, to honor the memory of Andrew, Tamar, and their children, students presented the church with a beautiful memory quilt for which every eighth-grade student designed a square. We will display the quilt in Watkinson’s main office through the end of the school year and at West Hartford’s Juneteenth commemoration, after which we will deliver it to the church.

To learn more about Watkinson’s middle school, schedule a visit today!

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