Signature Projects

The Witness Stones Project

“The agency of resistance that enslaved and free African Americans took part in still has an effect on our country today — shaping our understanding of the institution of slavery in the United States.”

Ari, seventh grade

Timeline of Nean

Made with Padlet

Witness Stone Reflections 2023

Witness Stones Project 2023
Witness Stones Project ’23

By Claire Driver ’25

We will decide how the next part of American history will look. Will it be bright, created by the learned, or will the strong allow the cowardly to seize control? Will we seek true equality, or will we point to others and say that they’re bad because they’re "different?"

Read More about Righting a Wrong
Witness Stones Project 2023
Witness Stones Project ’23

By Cordelia Thompson ’25

I never knew that on the New Haven Green, families were torn apart, or that Hartford prospered from insuring the slaves of wealthy Southern plantation owners. These things really stick with you when you realize everything is connected and that New Haven probably wouldn't have existed without slavery. 

Read More about Giving a Voice to Nean

“It’s strange to sometimes believe that everywhere I walk, the ground under my feet has seen so much suffering. I know now that Nean’s story will stay with me because I can now tell anyone I met about his life.”

Will, seventh grade

Ceremony Photos

The photos below were taken by Zachary Brenner ’25, Eric Silva ’25, and Kameron Shahid ’25.

Witness Stones Project 2023

Did You Know?

  • Connecticut was the second state to legally acknowledge slavery as an institution in 1650, and it fully assimilated into Connecticut as an accepted form of labor in 1680.
  • For at least 100 years (from about 1749–1856 or so) free and enslaved black people in Connecticut had a custom of electing a leader; a man named Hercules, who lived in New London, may have been the first Black governor.
  • Connecticut was one of the last states to enact a gradual emancipation policy, in 1784.
  • Despite being a smaller state, Connecticut had the most enslaved people in New England.
  • Slavery was not outlawed in Connecticut until 1848. 
  • Even after Connecticut abolished slavery, they still profited majorly from the imported goods from the South.

Slavery is a dark part of our history. Despite the myriad difficulties with doing so, it is critical that we thoughtfully shine light on our dark moments, so that we can grow from a clearer view of both our past and present. Our hope is that the work we do here at Foote — both with the Witness Stones Project and beyond it — helps to shape a more just and equitable future.