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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Brooklyn in St. Clair County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Freedom Village

in the C.A. 1829-1837

 
 
Freedom Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, November 25, 2021
1. Freedom Village Marker
Inscription.  The oldest black town in the United States, Brooklyn, Illinois, had its origins in the northern part of the present town. Despite the black code laws meant to discourage African-American settlements in Illinois, Brooklyn's oral history recounts the founding of a freedom village around 1829. Priscilla "Mother" Baltimore led members of 11 other African-American families, some of whom were free people of color and others who were fugitive slaves. They settled on a high patch of ground along the Mississippi River across from St. Louis. While the Illinois shore teemed with slave-catchers, Brooklyn's black residents kept watch for fugitives who safely crossed the Mississippi, and then helped them on their journey north on the Underground Railroad (see the Network to Freedom marker for Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church on Fifth Street). Not only is Brooklyn the only remaining early African-American settlement out of three established in Southern Illinois before the Civil War, it is the oldest black town in America, and the first incorporated black town in America. Brooklyn's survival despite formidable odds is testament to its proud past, the resiliency of
Freedom Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, November 25, 2021
2. Freedom Village Marker
Marker is on the grounds of Quinn Chapel AME Church (partly obscured by the telephone pole)
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its people, and great hope for the future.
 
Erected 2021 by Brooklyn Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansSettlements & SettlersWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1829.
 
Location. 38° 39.533′ N, 90° 10.02′ W. Marker is in Brooklyn, Illinois, in St. Clair County. Marker is on North 5th Street north of Madison Street, on the right when traveling north. Marker is on the grounds of Quinn Chapel AME Church. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 108 N 5th St, Lovejoy IL 62059, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Venice High School Bell (approx. 0.2 miles away); Main Street of America ran right through Venice (approx. ¾ mile away); Le Grange de Terre (Big Mound) (approx. 1½ miles away in Missouri); Mounds Heritage Trail (approx. 1½ miles away in Missouri); The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri (approx. 1.8 miles away in Missouri); Biddle Street Trailhead (approx. 1.8 miles away in Missouri); Fr. Edward S. Filipiak Park (approx. 2 miles away in Missouri); AMDG Shrine of St. Joseph (approx. 2.1 miles away in Missouri).
 
Also see . . .  Brooklyn, Illinois on Wikipedia. For many years, it was
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challenged as the oldest black town in the United States, mostly to the towns of Fort Mose and Eatonville, both in Florida. Brooklyn was originally an interracial community with white abolitionists helping black residents settle the town. However, tensions between both races came about during the early 20th century while industrialization was at its peak in Brooklyn, as well as neighboring communities such as Granite City and East St. Louis. The last half of the 20th century brought much decay and struggle with those cities, especially Brooklyn, as it has dealt with population loss and crime in recent years. (Submitted on November 25, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 25, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 32 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 25, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Dec. 7, 2021