Hidden Histories Memorial Dedication takes place at Kingswood Oxford - Kingswood Oxford

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May 29, 2024

Hidden Histories Memorial Dedication takes place at Kingswood Oxford

Over the last five years, through an initiative called Hidden Histories, students at Kingswood Oxford have led the charge in thinking in a new ways about the ideals of freedom, independence, democracy, and the right to rebel. In conjunction with alumni, faculty, and town historians, students investigated the lives of enslaved and formerly enslaved residents of West Hartford and Hartford, working to bring light to their lives and honor their contributions to building the community. Current and past students underwent great efforts to uncover long-ignored stories and recalibrate the understanding of Connecticut’s historical involvement with slavery. 

 

As a culmination of their actions, at an assembly on May 28, six plaques were revealed, dedicated to the remembrance of the lives of 12 enslaved residents they researched. The names are as follows: Prut, Greenville, Coffy, Sarah Coffee, Peleg Nott, Rachel Nott, Henry Nott, Plymouth, Boston Nichols, Rose Nichols, Chloe, and Tack. These memorials will be placed near the iconic bell on campus to be a part of the school’s story and serve as a reminder that the important work of bringing attention and justice to the Hidden Histories mission is not yet complete. 

 

Students interpreted materials and told the stories of those individuals whose names had been lost to history in class over the year. Additionally, over the last few years, they have taken a host of actions, including supporting Prut’s name being etched on the Revolutionary War monument in the center of West Hartford, designing historical markers, working to get the name of Sycamore Lane changed to Peleg Nott Lane, and developing and being tour guides on the Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour in the town’s center.

 

These civic actions have revealed the power of local history to teachers and students and have engaged the KO community with the larger West Hartford community. Faculty members, including former faculty member Katie McCarthy and current faculty members Stephanie Sperber, Jermaine Mathison, Trish Watson, and David Baker, have shepherded this project and challenged their students and themselves to tackle hard history.


Current students and recent alumni who had an integral hand in the project in the years prior each read a plaque and shared a few details of the enslaved person’s life. Recent 2024 graduate Anissa Lewis poignantly said, “There are far too many stories of former slaves being lost in history, and it is up to the current generations to uncover them and properly acknowledge their lives. These were real people, that lived real lives, that made a real impact, and deserved to be remembered as such.”

 

The assembly ended with a moment of silence to honor the lives of Pruitt, Greenville, Coffee, Sarah Coffee, Pelog Nott, Rachel Nott, Henry Nott, Plymouth, Boston Nichols, Rose Nichols, Chloe, and Tack. The assembly recognized their contributions to the community, the challenges they faced in colonial and early America, and their resilience and agency.

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KO and a Cup of Joe – Thursday Mornings throughout the Summer

Join us for a brief information session to learn about the academic and co-curricular offerings at Kingswood Oxford School during the summer: June 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25, August 1, and 8 at 8:30 a.m. in Roberts Building’s lower lobby. For more information, contact our Admissions Office at (860) 727-5000. What a Difference a Day Makes!