Brooklyn’s Promised Land: The Free Black Community of Weeksville, New York
Interest in the history of local communities and neighborhoods has been increasing the past several years, particularly understanding how large national events impacted local communities, especially those of color. This book explores one such community in Brooklyn, a community that was mostly unknown until it was discovered and what remained of it was preserved. This book explores the history of Weeksville, a predominantly African American community that was at the edge of Brooklyn for a long time until it was swallowed up, largely forgotten until its rediscovery and preservation. Judith Wellman brings us the story of Weeksville from its beginning, through its growth, and to its eventual decline. She goes into reasons why so little is known about this area, including the fact there was little written documentation that has survived.
While stories like this are interesting, and generally fun to read, this one is not without its problems. The author does not want for sources that can tell a story, but what lacks here is an overall narrative. Much of the time she just presents census data about a lot of people, and that distracts from telling the story as a whole.