Web site follows Connecticut's Freedom Trail



HARTFORD -- The 15-year-old Connecticut Freedom Trail went digital on Thursday, launching a website for virtual tourists to discover the state's role in the abolition of slavery, including the stops along the Underground Railroad.

During an afternoon celebration and reception in the state Capitol attended by more than 100 people, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that the state's history is too often overlooked, whether it's Connecticut's role in the American Revolution or Industrial Revolution.

"You would think that the Civil War was only fought in Pennsylvania and Virginia," Malloy said during brief remarks kicking off the website, which is sponsored by the New Haven-based Amistad Committee Inc, the Connecticut Freedom Trail Committee and the state Commission on Culture & Tourism.

The original 60 Freedom Trail sites pinpointed in 1995 has expanded to 130 locations throughout the state, covering black history from the slave era to the modern Civil Rights movement.

The sites include:

Walters Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Bridgeport, the heart of the city's former "Little Liberia" neighborhood of former slaves.

The First Baptist Church of Milford, where there is a memorial marker for six black soldiers of the Revolutionary War.

The Marian Anderson House in Danbury, commemorating the first African-American performer at the Metropolitan Opera, who died in 1993.

Jackie Robinson Park of Fame in Stamford, named for the color-barrier breaking Hall of Fame baseball player who lived and raised his family there.

"This is how we make history come alive," said Malloy, who as mayor met Robinson's widow and as a high school student sang with Marian Anderson. "We bring our children. We go as adults. We make connections. We celebrate who we are. It is also a way to make sure that we don't repeat that behavior at some other time."

Alfred Marder, chairman of the Freedom Trail Committee, said the state played a significant role in the struggle for freedom from slavery and civil rights. "This is an exciting and significant milestone for the Connecticut Freedom Trail," he said of the website launch. "There are many stories of the long struggle for equality and justice."

The Connecticut Freedom Trail website: www.ctfreedomtrail.org