Hidden Histories Program Brings Local Guest Speakers and Unique Opportuntity - Kingswood Oxford

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January 11, 2024

Hidden Histories Program Brings Local Guest Speakers and Unique Opportuntity

Hosted in the Roberts Center for Leadership, KO school proudly presented the Hidden Histories program, previously recognized as Witness Stones, to students this week. The initiative aimed to provide students with a unique opportunity to delve into the untold stories of significant individuals and their contributions to the community.


Local historians Ms. Liz Devine, Dr. Tracey Wilson, and Ms. Denise deMello, renowned for their expertise in the field, played a pivotal role in guiding students through the exploration of hidden narratives. The program’s focus was centered on two key figures, Chloe and Tack, both freedom seekers with compelling stories that have long been obscured from mainstream historical accounts.


Thomas Seymour and his family took center stage during the deep dive into New England’s history of slavery. The students engaged in thought-provoking discussions, tackling questions that aimed to unravel the complexities of the region’s past. Topics such as the surprising aspects of learning about slavery in New England, as well as the nuances between being free and freed within the realm of slavery, were carefully examined.


The informative sessions also shed light on the mural located in West Hartford, offering students a deeper understanding of its historical significance. Discussions touched upon the concept of “disentanglement” and the pervasive fear of rebellion, even among those who acknowledged the moral wrongness of slavery. The speakers emphasized how the entire system was built on fear, as even enslavers were trapped within its confines.


Local historians unveiled compelling stories from the early 1700s, illustrating the 

resistance against slavery. Notably, the Bristow School in West Hartford is named after an African man, and his gravestone remains the only one of its kind in the area, commemorating an enslaved individual. Students were shown the document that Bristow carried with him at all times, proving that he had purchased his freedom for 60 pounds.


The discussion also delved into the lives of Freedom Seekers, examining advertisements in newspapers describing runaway slaves and the rewards offered for their capture. The nuanced analysis included considerations of the advantages and disadvantages of the timing of a slave’s escape, reflecting the intricate decisions faced by those seeking freedom.



What set the program apart was the remarkable skill of the guest speakers, who guided the class to scrutinize historical events at a micro level. By immersing students in the personal stories of Chloe, Tack, and others, the Hidden Histories program successfully unearthed the obscured narratives of our community, providing a valuable educational experience for all involved.

Main News

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!