An unflinching look at African American history

One-of-a-kind Connecticut museum in Stratford

Grim pieces of America’s history are on display at the Ruby & Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum in Stratford, the first and only African American history museum in Connecticut.

Among the items to be seen in 10 main displays throughout a 4,700-square-foot historic home are symbols of slavery such as shackles, neck harnesses, notifications of young black children sold into slavery and even the pained sounds of enslaved people in a ship hull.

Then there are the ugly, discriminatory statues and mechanical objects of the Jim Crow South depicting the Sambo character and other offensive images, including signs that impose segregation. One sign in a mock movie theater setting reads: “Coloreds in the balcony.”

Also highlighted in the grassroots museum are positive pieces of history: a display on the Tuskegee Airmen, with artifacts and also a rotating display to celebrate people in Connecticut of all races and religions who have contributed positively.

The intimate museum is called, “small but mighty” in one of numerous favorable Google reviews. Others have called the museum, “a hidden gem.”

Honoring a couple who grew up in segregation

The museum was founded and is operated by retired New Haven police officer Jeffrey Fletcher. He opened the museum in October 2021 in honor of his late mother, who had a lifelong collection of slavery and Jim Crow era objects, and late father, Calvin. The couple raised their family in Colchester.

Ruby Fletcher, born in South Carolina in the 1930s, started collecting items of the segregation/Jim Crow era as a child, such as salt and pepper shakers, napkins and signage.

Hartford Courant 
By Pamela Mcloughlin
To read the full article, click here.

Posted in

Connecticut Arts Alliance