I will teach the curriculum unit to seventh and eighth grade students. The unit will be taught mainly during the months of January and February in conjunction with several of the previous units,
United States Constitution and Connecticut Literature
. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days that it will be taught (40 minutes per class each day). Ethnic history is important to study in order for a person to learn about herself/himself.
The Need—The students will be introduced content-knowledge of the “Blacks Who Were Here Before the Mayflower.”
2: The Two Viable AfroAmerican Churches During the 1800’s until NOW—St. Luke Episcopal and Dixwell Avenue United Congregational Churches were very supportive in the community to promote one’s black heritage.
3: The Prince Hall Masons and the First Oneroom School for Black Children—The building is located at the corners of Goffe and Sperry Streets. The first black teacher was Miss Sally Wilson.
4: The East Rock Elks Lodge—It is at the corner of Webster Street and Dixwell Avenue.
8: Brief Historical Sketches—The biographical minitexts that I compiled will be used.
Wrapup Sessions—There will be some notable events addressed during the study.
In 1865, the
was passed; it declared by law the abolishment of slavery for blacks. To reflect, Abraham Lincoln was elected
in 1860. The nation was divided, because the northern states did not agree with slavery; the southern states favored slavery for profits. President Lincoln joined sides with the abolitionists; he declared that it was right and the duty of Congress to forbid slavery in the new states and territories. John C. Calhoun, during 1850 reported from Congress in Washington D.C., “The Southern members are more determined and bold than I ever saw them. Many avow themselves and in greater numbers admit that there is little hope for a remedy to abolish slavery.” One can refer to the
Fugitive Slave Act and the Law in 1848
to abolish slavery in the North and Connecticut forever. Some blacks were determined to be free and fled from the South according to
Harriet Tubman’s Biography,
Railroad Construction 18501860: Railroad construction became massive in the northeast and northwest sections; industrialization and immigration gave the North a preponderance in resources that also influenced the outcome of the
. Many of the immigrants came from Germany and Scandinavia because of the newly built railroads. The railroads helped to ship their crops to markets. The immigrants could get additional help, because more credit was being offered by more banks for them.
The “Black Codes” were passed in 1865 to keep all AfroAmericans in a condition of servitude. The blacks would no longer be slaves interpreted by law, but those with private property had lost their property (at least 40 acres of land and one mule). The results were suppression, repression and depression. Thus, the majority of blacks belonged to the southern whites, and President Abraham Lincoln made no protests.
The author of this unit will address more information in her classes about Abraham Lincoln before he was elected and when he was elected the President of the United States of America: The Abraham Lincoln—Frederick Douglass Debates from August 21ÐOctober 15, 1858. Douglass, a famous black American ran on the presidentialdemocratic ticket against Lincoln who was a republican. I think that perhaps one could easily compare similarities of what is happening during the 1980’s (Jessie Jackson and the like). I would like to interject that the students will listen to an excerpt on a cassette tape which has been recorded by the author of this unit. One of my favorite speeches written by Frederick Douglass in 1852 is entitled, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”
In 1915, there was a vast move for blacks during
I. A large number of blacks moved to northern cities such as New York City: Philadelphia: Washington, D.C.: Detroit: Memphis: St. Louis: Cleveland, and Pittsburgh by 1930 due to the industrial centers.
The northern industrial centers needed laborers because of the war in Europe. A large supply of foreign immigrants for labor was curtailed; they were not allowed to immigrate to the United States the way that they had previously during the 1800’s1914. Hence, laborers of other sources were greatly needed. Southern blacks were available and willing substitutes; the wages were very low and opportunities were very limited for the blacks in the southern states. For example, blacks were paid ten or fifteen centers (10¢—15¢) per hour in the South. In the North, the blacks were paid thirty or forty cents, (30¢—40¢) per hour according to David Bromley’s book,
White Racism and Black Americans
There were better schools, better safety for black families, and their property in the northern cities. The social opportunities were much broader with more positive educational attributes for black children, because there were no schools available for black youngsters to attend in many sections of the southern states. Thus, the southern towns, that had schools available for black children to attend, paid the black teachers less than the white teachers. Examples, the black teachers in Houston, Texas during 1919 were paid fortyfive to eighty dollars ($45.00—$80.00) per month while the white teachers were paid fifty to one hundred twentytwo dollars ($50.00—$122.00) per month. In Anne Arundel county, Maryland during 1920, there were 135 white teachers that were paid six hundred eightysix dollars ($686.00) per month. Thus, there were 55 black teachers paid at the rate of three hundred and six dollars ($306.00) per month according to Bromley’s book (pp. 3133).
Racism has always been a big problem for Afro-Americans. The Klu Klux Klan mobs began intimidating and lynching blacks in southern communities more frequently during 1915. Hence, the North for AfroAmericans was not “the land of milk, honey and the American dreams” in which the blacks had painted as a pretty picture of the North. Blacks were placed in limited quarters of urban cities with the “newly found freedom." Some of the northern whites viewed the newly migrated AfroAmericans as economic threats and undesirables, refer to Bromley’s book (pp. 3738). Thus, the movement to the northern states during World War I helped the AfroAmericans to make greater strides economically, intellectually, socially and culturally. The author of this unit will give the student(s) an opportunity to view the speech of Jesse Jackson, Sr. which was spoken at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on July 19, 1988 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (NBC Network: Channel 4) on the video tape that is one of my possessions. The students will review the “great ray of hope” that our foreparents retained even when they were disenchanted, mistreated and the like. Many of our Afro-American ancestors did not submerge their dreams in this pluralistic American society and culture.
The Purpose and Use of Cultural Literacy
It is a fact that, when living in the United States of America, one lives in a culturally pluralistic society. Industrialization and high technology are imposing a growing culture, with structural complexity, which requires a broad grasp of cultural literacy. One really needs to have a deep understanding of mainstream culture which no longer has much to do with “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.” Hence, a broad concept of one’s whole civilization is essential for improving his/her intellectual, social, economic, political development and mental health.
I agree with Orlanda Patterson, a renown black sociologist, “An AfroAmerican and others must possess information which is essential for improving their mental health/selfesteem, economic status and the ability to hold positions of responsibility with power.” The stages of power are acquired through literacy, but an individual must be aware of his/her ancestry to try to understand this pluralistic society. I will give each student an opportunity to read the speech written by Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream” which deals with social goals.
On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson had a dream of an American society based on personal merit rather than race/class. During the present, the American dream depends on a high level of universal and mature literacy. What does all of the above information mean to an AfroAmerican youth and family if one does not view himself/herself as an active participant in one’s community/country? Hence, an individual often does not go to the polls and vote, because one has the feeling of powerlessness. In order for a person to comprehend, one is to focus the attention on background information which includes contentknowledge and positive shared attitudes. A student can learn the above information by being taught reading in the content areas of literature and ethnic history.
Selfesteem and Mental Health
I strongly agree that building selfesteem is one of the most important parts of a happy life from early childhood through adulthood. An individual that likes and values herself/himself has selfconfidence. The individual sees himself/herself in a positive way and can accept strengths and weaknesses with constructive criticism. A person is not to believe that one is better than others; it merely means that one doesn’t have a need to show off, brag or boast if there is a positive personal image. How does a person with selfesteem see herself/himself in positive ways?
A mentally healthy person understands one’s self and has positive selfesteem (can control emotions). I still agree with a renown Greek philosopher, Socrates, “Know Thyself." There will be several questions addressed further in the lesson plans of this unit. Do I know and like myself? Do I continually grow to understand myself, relate to others and try to solve realistic life problems without using drugs/alcohol?
The AfroAmerican churches, in the South and North centuries ago, were the total life of the black community including religious/spiritual growth. The churches vigorously supported the development of racial independence, politics, social relations, education, housing economics, dignity and selfesteem. The blacks had opportunities to experience selfgovernment, to manage adult homes, orphanages, burial societies, recreation, business, money and the like.
During the early nineteenth century, a few Afro-Americans migrated from the South to New Haven, Connecticut. The philosophy of race pride and self-help flourished, and the religious institution/s were greatly needed. The blacks settled mainly in the Dixwell Avenue area to work and have better living conditions for their families. The Curry brothers, George and Alfred, told me that there were about 2,000 AfroAmericans in New Haven during the early 1920’s.
Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church
: Simeon Jocelyn was one of the organizers. The church was organized in 1820 namely the African Ecclesiastical and United African Society on Temple Street. The first black minister was a runaway slave from the State of Maryland; it was James W. C. Pennington. Later, the church was named Temple Street Congregational. During 1885-1896, the church was relocated on
; the present building was built 1968. The ministers and members have been involved in writings for publications, attending anti-slavery conferences in the state and nationally. The church continues to sponsor plus support social and educational programs that were began. Thus, many of the programs presently exist in the Dixwell Community House; I will mention the Dixwell Community House further in this unit.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
: AfroAmericans legally organized the church in 1844. The blacks had been members of Trinity Episcopal Church which is still located on the “Green” in downtown New Haven, Connecticut. The first black members were a woman and her daughter sold as the last slaves on the “Green” in 1825. The interior of Trinity Episcopal Church is very interesting to me, because the balcony is still in the church where the slaves and consequently freed blacks were limited to sit in the balcony. In 1842, the blacks decided to become racially independent so that they could serve on committees, orally express themselves and the like. Trinity Church granted the fortysix (46) black members permission to use its Gregson Street Lecture Hall when the Diocese of Connecticut sent them black priest in 1845. The congregation purchased the building that belonged to the third Immanuel Baptist Church on Park Street in 1852. (Immanuel Baptist and Varick American Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches will be briefly mentioned in the lesson plans of this unit). Approximately, 425 members of St. Luke’s Church built a new church on Whalley Avenue in 1904; it is still located at the corners of
Whalley Avenue and Sperry Street
. Historically, the church is considered one of the most beautiful black churches in America. I would also like to interject that W.E.B. DuBois’ grandfather was an early leader of St. Luke’s church. He was Alexander DuBois.
Hence, the members of St. Luke’s church had accepted segregation before and since the Civil War in religious affairs and the like. The attitude of a strong and viable black business community was vigorously supported. (Madame C. J. Walker, first black hairdressing business 1890’s—St. Louis, Missouri: Mrs. Elizabeth Ruby, first black hairdressing business 1912—New Haven, Connecticut). More examples of black men and women’s businesses will be addressed in this unit.
C. AfroAmericans, nationwide, not only saw a need to organize churches and businesses due to segregation, they knew that it had become important to organize schools and organizations during the 1860’s1890’s. Miss Sally Wilson was the first black teacher in New Haven. One of her students, Edward Bouchet, was the first black to receive a four year degree from Yale University. During 1864, the Goffe Street Special School was built for black children at the corners of
Goffe and Sperry Streets
by a Board of Trustees. The black children had been offered very little education in
Trowbridge Square on Carlisle Street of the Hill Section
during the 1840’s. In 1874, the school on Goffe Street closed, because the AfroAmerican children began attending public schools that had been only for the white children previously. The Board of Trustees kept the school, and it was available for committees/organizations to use in the AfroAmerican Community. Hence, St. Luke’s Church used the building for a parish hall after
World War I
II. AfroAmerican business and professional people began organizing their newspapers/periodicals, teachers/doctors, grand operas, community centers, unions, banks, Masons and Elks nationally during the 1870’s and early 1900’s.
A. The Grand Lodge Prince Hall Masons of Connecticut purchased the Goffe Street School that had been for black children May, 1929.
The Masons wanted to keep the historic building, and let it remain the property of AfroAmericans. The building and land is located at the corners of
Goffe and Sperry Streets
. It is still the State Headquarters for the Connecticut Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut. The “Eastern Stars” are the women members.
B. The Elks Grand Lodge Convention was held in Brooklyn, New York during 1906. There were two hundred (200) lodges chartered while the Elks Convention was convening, and East Rock Lodge #141 was chartered. The Manhattan Lodge #45 of New York City supervised the East Rock Lodge when instituted December 19, 1906. The Nutmeg Lodge #67 of Hartford, Connecticut was also very supportive, and the Elks Lodge had its meetings in the old Masonic Hall at 76 Webster Street.
The Elks built a new building and moved in it during 1968. The members are continually helping the New Haven Community with human resources. The women of the Elks are called “Daughters”.
C. The Dixwell Community “Q” House was completed during 1924. The “Q” House is still located on 98 Dixwell Avenue. The community people and civic organizations saw a need to erect a building for providing structured recreational activities in the Afro-American Community. Polly Taylor McCabe and Frederick Ruby were some of the original Dixwell Community House board members. More information is available at the AfroAmerican Historical Society located on Orchard Street in New Haven.
III. Some Outstanding Black Business people and Buildings in New Haven, Connecticut:
It was an exciting, informative and overwhelming experience that I had while interviewing the pleasant and proud relatives of the following individuals’ loved ones. My visitations within their homes and businesses were very hospitable, full of warmth and love. Thus, I shall never forget to extend my inspiring and heartfelt love token of thanks.
There is a building located on Columbus Avenue in the Hill Section which is the Polly T. McCabe Center. Who was Polly Taylor McCabe? Polly was born in Gum Springs, Virginia on January 27, 1882; she died in 1949. Polly’s mother was Polly Taylor, and her father was Moses Taylor. Her parents moved to Stratford, Connecticut when Little Polly was very young. The parents moved to this state to make a better life for their children. Little Polly graduated from Stratford High School as “Valedictorian” of her class. Yes, she was the first black student to be valedictorian of Stratford High School during the late 1800’s.
Young Polly had always been encouraged, inspired and given strong educational hence chastity convictions by her parents. Her father was a Baptist minister; Polly’s dad and Cousin (Mr. Ford) organized the first black Baptist Church in Stratford, Connecticut.
Little Polly Taylor and Eugene McCabe, Sr. united in marriage when they were in their twenties. Polly and Eugene moved to West Haven, Connecticut. Eugene, Sr. was a barber at Yale College, and he was the first barber of color at Yale. Polly and her husband were blessed with seven children (two girls and five boys.)
Years later, Polly, Eugene and their children moved to 172 Dixwell Avenue in New Haven. She transferred her membership to Immanuel Baptist Church which is still located at the corners of Chapel and Day Streets in New Haven.
Dear Old Immanuel
to the tune of
Jesus of Nazareth
was written by Polly. Yes, she was a very creative writer/poetess, devout christian missionary, humanitarian, and civic community worker.
During Polly’s lifetime, she worked many years at the
Dixwell Community “Q” House
: On the Board of Directors at the
Hannah Gray Home
: As Superintendent of Sunday School at her church, hence visited the sick and shutin.
Polly’s daughter, Inez McCabe (Sanders) told me that her mother always had people in their household. When Inez was a little girl, she gave the house a nickname entitled, “Do Drop In—Center and the House By the Side of the Road to Be A Friend to People.” Inez said that, even though her mother helped many people of all ages, her mother was very concerned about black teenage girls who needed help when they unfortunately became pregnant. Polly did not want their education to be neglected, because she valued education very highly. Her philosophy was that one should not have less than a high school education. Thus, the girl of misfortunate virtuousness, who had given birth to “one child” as a teenager, should attend a private educational setting/center for rehabilitation: to further education: to rebuild self-esteem/dignity: to regain stronger moral convictions and to promote more gainful employment in her community/country.
Hence, Polly was deceased; some of her “dreams came true.” During the late 1960’s, a Polly Taylor McCabe Center was opened at
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
; Father Edward Geyer was the priest. The
Dixwell Community House
Board of Directors and civic organizations in the New Haven AfroAmerican Community wanted to help fulfill some of Polly’s “dreams” for the pregnant black teenage girl(s).
Presently, some of Polly’s
“dreams”, nationwide have expanded into more
due to teaching of less virtuousness: less stronger social skills and the like. Hence, promiscuities have been empowered more largely within our adult society and teenager.
Thus, there was a need for more space at the Polly T. McCabe Center. The New Haven Education Department built a new building on Columbus Avenue; the Polly Taylor McCabe School opened January, 1986. The Hill Health and Mary Sherlock Day Care Centers, which are a part of the School, opened March, 1986. Mary Sherlock was the first black Director of the Polly T. McCabe Center when it was organized at
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
. Mary is presently living but has retired.
Polly’s daughter, Inez, has accepted many of her mother’s service awards after Polly’s death (posthumously). I visualize Polly as being firm, humane and a disciplinarian when I was looking at the vastness of photographs that her daughter, Inez, had preserved so well. I think that Polly’s ideas and concepts must still continue with respect, culture, education, self-dignity/esteem and understanding. It also amazed me how Polly could envision and predict things (futuristic). Her visions, concepts and humanity have become so widespread locally hence nation-wide for girls of all races/ethnic backgrounds.
B. Granddaughter Beverly of Unique Boutique #1 and #2 and the SmithRuby Family Hairdressers.
Beverly Fernanders (Huckaby) and Eugene Huckaby, Jr. are the owners and managers of the Unique Boutique #1 and #2. Boutique #1 is located on 287 Dixwell Avenue in the City of New Haven, and it was opened in 1970 to sell black hair products. The business was so flourishing that Beverly and Eugene saw a great need to expand and sell other variety of items such as: cosmetics, wigs, hats, shirts, souvenirs, novelties and greeting cards. Beverly graciously smiled and said that she had always wanted to own a “card shop” since her early childhood while helping her mother, Mildred, who owned a hairdressing shop. Beverly and Eugene, Jr. saw a greater need to open a second boutique. Thus, they opened Unique Boutique #2 in New Haven. Beverly is working in the boutique located on Dixwell Avenue, and Eugene is working in the one located on Chapel Street.
Beverly has come from a family tree of women who were owners of hair salons and who were hairdressers. Beverly’s grandmother, Elizabeth Eva Smith (Ruby) was born in the Country of Canada during 1877. She died December 28, 1918 in New Haven, Connecticut. Elizabeth’s parents moved to Tarrytown, New York when she was very young. Elizabeth’s mother,
sold the famous first black American hairdresser’s products who was
Madame C. J. Walker
during the 1890’s.
had a hair products shop. The famous
was the “godmother” to one of Beverly F. Huckaby’s second cousins. Thus,
sent Beverly’s cousin to college (Lincoln University). I would like to remind the reader(s) that
was Beverly’s great-grandmother.
Elizabeth Eva Smith (Ruby) and Frederick Ruby, Beverly F. Huckaby’s grandparents, were united in marriage and had three (3) daughters. The girls’ names were Gladys, Mildred and Hazel Ruby. Mildred Ruby (Fernanders), Beverly F. Huckaby’s mother, was born June 8, 1903 in Cambridge, Massachusetts; she died November 21, 1986 in New Haven. I would like to interject for reflective thinking! Mildred’s mom, Elizabeth, was born in Canada: Mildred’sdad, Frederick 18691916 and was born in Portland, Maine. All three of them died in New Haven, Connecticut. Hence the daughter, mother and father are buried in the
located in the City of New Haven.
Mildred Ruby (Fernanders) moved to New Haven in 1904 when she was 12 months old. Her parents wanted to have a better way of life. Mildred’s dad, Fred, was a custodian at Yale University. Mildred’s mother, Elizabeth, opened the Elizabeth Ruby Beauty Parlor located on 65 and later to 157 Dixwell Avenue in 1912. Beverly F. Huckaby and her Aunt Hazel (Hazel Ruby Wall: born 1905) still possess many photographs that are invaluable. They have baby pictures and a family portrait taken at Savin Rock in West Haven, Connecticut 1914.
Beverly also has an aunt named Gladys who was born in 1901 and was thirteen (13) years old who is in the photograph. Gladys is presently living in a “convalescent” home located in New Haven. Beverly’s mother, Mildred was eleven (11). Aunt Hazel was nine (9) and is presently very alert such as peppy at the age of eightythree (83).
Beverly and Aunt Gladys showed me the “authentic” booklet of ads sponsored by the
Elks East Rock Lodge #141
in 1915 A.D. It was the “Fourth Biennial Elks Ball.” Frederick Ruby was an Elks trustee and on the Box Committee. I recorded so much Afro-American historical data from the booklet; it was amazing! For example: The Elizabeth Ruby Hair Dressing Parlors (which was pictorial with “freelance writing” by Mildred age twelve (12). The information from the ad—Hairdressing: Haircutting: Ladies and Gents’ Manicuring: Switches (presently called extensions): Puffs (buns): Transformations (wrap the hair): Wigs: Shampooing: Hair dyeing and Bleaching: Makeup: Facial Massage: Children’s Haircutting. In 1916, Elizabeth Smith Ruby caught the influenza (flu) during the epidemic, and she died. Mildred (age 13) was the daughter that paid the closest attention to the entire operation. It was her desire to reopen the shop after attending the first erected Hillhouse High School and after working at the Olympia Theatre in New Haven with her two (2) sisters. Each person was paid $1.00 per day for 1012 hours. During 1923, Mildred Ruby (Fernanders) reopened the Hairdressing Parlor.
Mildred Ruby (Fernanders) and Hubert “Hubie” Fernanders were united in marriage. They had one daughter who is Beverly Fernanders (Huckaby) of Unique Boutique #1 and #2. Mildred and Hubert were very active in their churches (Mildred—
Dixwell Avenue Congregational
). They held many civic community positions such as local, state and national positions in the
ElksEast Rock Lodge #141 and Pocohontas Daughters Temple #55
. Beverly’s parents were also very active in the
Prince Hall Masons Lodge
of New Haven, Connecticut. Beverly’s dad worked in business management and the like. Hubert C. Fernanders was born on October 2, 1902 and died September, 1984.
Brief profile of Mildred Ruby Fernanders’ Educational and Business Attributes—
Completion of Studies at Ivy Street School and the Original Hillhouse High: Private Piano and Guitar Lessons (Mildred enjoyed playing and singing music until her death in 1986): Free-lancing and Printing: 1925 Acquired her Beautician and Cosmetology license. (The same year that the State of Connecticut passed the law to be a licensee): Successful Business Operator/Manager and the like.
I extend a warm thanks to Beverly and her lovely Aunt Hazel Ruby (Wall) for spending time with me, showing me artifacts, printed materials, photographs and other invaluable heirlooms. In closing this memoir, Beverly Fernanders (Huckaby) was born on August 10, 1938 in New Haven, Connecticut. Beverly and Eugene, Jr. have a son Darryl Huckaby: a daughter, Lynne Huckaby. Darryl has finished college and is working in Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia) as a certified account and computer processor. Lynne is studying “Fashion Merchandise/Marketing” at the Philadelphia College of Textile and Science in the State of Pennsylvania. Guess What? The fifth matriarchy generation of the SmithRuby Family in beauty and cultural advancements will continue, stated Lynne’s greataunt and mother.
Brief Additional Notes of Memoirs
The Curry’s Confectioner Store: The sons of the “candy store” owner will be interviewed within several weeks by the author of this curriculum unit. George and Alfred Curry have much to tell about the store which was located on Dixwell Avenue from 19291950. George and Alfred’s brother
James D. Curry
black New Haven Fireman.
The Monterey Club—
Rufus Greenlee opened the night club during 1935. The club had a reputation for famous jazz musicians playing there during the 1940’s1950’s. The Monterey Club is still opened at 265267 Dixwell Avenue. Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Greenlee’s daughter, Virginia Greenlee (Wells), still owns the club. Virginia has many paraphernalia, memorabilia, artifacts, diaries and the like that will require more time for me to view and record. The authentic possessions have left me in a state of awesomeness! Hence, Rufus Greenlee during 1925-1930’s performed in France, Germany and other countries with the famous black dancer, Josephine Baker. Their photographs are fantastic that I viewed, and Rufus spoke many languages.