Grant to fund important lesson at RHAM

Dec. 8—HEBRON — A grant from the Hebron Greater Together Community Fund is being used to build awareness of history and diversity at RHAM Middle School.

In December, middle school students will begin a " multidisciplinary exploration" through Witness Stones Inc., a nonprofit educational resource, funded through the grant.

The Greater Together Community Fund was established in 2019 by the Hartford Foundation of Public Giving, with $ 100,000 awarded to each of the 29 towns in the foundation's service area.

Each town is responsible for distributing $ 50,000 to eligible projects and setting aside $ 50,000 for an endowment of future projects.

Hebron distributed the phase of grants, totaling $25,000, to 11 different proposals over the summer, including this one, which is administered by the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology, the Hebron Historical Society and RHAM Middle School.

The funding will be used to educate students on the history of the Cesar and Sym Peters site in Hebron, which is located on Wall Street near the RHAM campus, and on the lives of enslaved people in Hebron's past.

While Cesar Peters is also associated with a historic home on East Street, in which he lived during his time as a slave, the Wall Street site is where Peters and his second wife, Sym, lived after they were freed.

" By researching and analyzing the lives of two enslaved Hebron men, Cesar Peters and Pomp Mundo, both owned in the late 18th century by the Rev. Samuel Peters, students will come to realize how enslavement dehumanized people and turned them into property, what treatment of slaves in the rural north was like, (and) how enslaved people were not in control of their own lives, as well as understanding the economics of northern slavery and how, without any rights, individual slaves found ways to exist as individuals and take agency to counteract the oppression of the slave system of which they were part," said grant administrator John Baron.

Cesar and his first wife, Lowis, along with their children, are famed historic figures in Hebron.

The family was traded to pay for the debts of their slaveowner, but sympathetic neighbors had them brought back to Hebron by the law by trumping up charges of theft.

They were later freed. The life of Pomp Mundo is less well known, but he was also one of the reverend's slaves who was not freed until late in life.

Baron notes when Connecticut abolished slavery in 1848, Hebron had the largest population of free African Americans of any municipality in the county.