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Unforgotten: Connecticut’s Hidden History of Slavery
Episodes premiere on Thursdays, starting on March 21

It’s a history lesson many of us didn’t get in school: Slavery has deep roots in Connecticut and across New England. Enslaved people helped build the foundation of much of this state. Get to know some of these men and women and the lives they lived. Hear from descendants who reflect on their loved ones. And learn from historians and experts going on a journey of discovery to recover this history.

In this five-episode podcast from Connecticut Public, reporter/producer Diane Orson and editorial consultant and curator Frank Mitchell talk about efforts to shed light on this history and they explore why it matters.

Visit ctpublic.org/unforgotten to learn more, including videos, photos and digital stories.

  • Experts, historians and volunteers have been uncovering Connecticut’s ties to slavery. It’s one thing to unearth this forgotten history, but how do we not forget it? Meet some of the people working with students to make sure that the stories of enslaved Connecticut residents endure. The Witness Stones Project helps schools and local communities “restore the history and honor the humanity” of enslaved people who helped build Connecticut. What happened centuries ago matters today, the students say. In our final episode, reporter/producer Diane Orson and editorial consultant and curator Frank Mitchell ask: How do we not forget this history? Mitchell discusses ways communities can reimagine their built environment to bring forward these stories. Mitchell also shares his hope that institutions of privilege will partner with community members to memorialize this history together. Visit www.ctpublic.org/unforgotten to learn more, including videos, photos and digital stories. Support the project at ctpublic.org/donate This podcast was produced by Cassandra Basler.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • The Pleasures of Solitude, Music by Sawney Freeman, Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • The New Death March, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • The Musician, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • St. Alban's, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Adam's March, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Liberty March, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Jefferson's March, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Solemnity, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Rays of Liberty, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Winter Piece, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Washington's Farewell, Music by Sawney Freeman. Edited and arranged by Anthony Pandolfe Jr., Recorded and mixed by Glenn Goettler. Performed on Saturday February 10, 2024 in New Canaan Conn., by violinists Ilmar Gavilan, Jonathan Frelix, Briana Almonte, flautist Jessica Valiente and cellist Paul Vanderwal. Sawney Freeman's music was discovered in a copy book dated1817 within the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford. A pocket companion with Freeman's music was published in 1801 according to an advertisement found in historical records. Freeman was enslaved in Connecticut in the 1760s; after his emancipation he lived in Centerbrook (Essex) and died in 1828. The musicians performing are Jonathan Frelix, violin, Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Jessica Valiente, woodwinds, Briana Almonte, violin, Paul Vanderwal, cello.Support the show: http://wnpr.org/donateSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.