“Weeksville is sacred African American ground,” Council Member Laurie Cumbo who represents Crown Heights said in a statement Friday. “For generations, it served as a beacon of hope for those seeking refuge from the vestiges of slavery. Supporting Weeksville as a Cultural Institutions Group is a recognition of African American longevity and a commitment from the city writ large.”
Weeksville, one the first free black settlements dating back to pre-Civil war Crown Heights, was facing financial hardship due to lack of permanent funding sources. Earlier this spring, the center launched an ultimately successful fundraising campaign to save the institution. But the designation as a Cultural Institutions Group allows them to receive grants for operating expenses from the city, Council Member Cumbo announced Friday.
“With the help of Speaker Corey Johnson, Cultural Affairs Chair Jimmy Van Bramer, Weeksville President Rob Fields, fellow council members Robert E. Cornegy Jr., Inez Barron, Alicka Samuel, Carlina Rivera, and many other leaders and community supporters who have stood with us firmly,” the statement reads, “Weeksville will continue to serve as a learning center for many years to come. I am so proud that New York City has made this critical commitment.”