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Witness Stones Installation Ceremony Held At St. James Episcopal Church

Witness Stones Installation Ceremony Held At St. James Episcopal Church

Wooster School’s 8th grade team, held a Witness Stones Installation Ceremony in the city of Danbury on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at the St. James Episcopal Church at 25 West Street, Danbury, CT 06810.

The 8th grade students have been learning about the complicated history of enslavement in Connecticut via their research of Patience, who was enslaved in Danbury and emancipated in 1793, as part of their participation in the Witness Stones Project. The Witness Stones project is a "k-12 educational initiative whose mission is to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities. The Project provides research assistance, teacher development, and curriculum support to help middle school students study the history of slavery in their own communities." Through their study of primary sources, students are tasked to take a critical look at issues such as the treatment of the people who were enslaved and their agency and resistance to the practice of enslavement. 

A keynote address was delivered by Joy Burns, Director of Outreach for the Witness Stones Project and member of the Amistad Committee and the Yale and Slavery Working Group.

The deep connection between Wooster School and St. James Episcopal Church was highlighted throughout the ceremony. Founded in 1926 by Reverend Aaron Coburn, who served St. James’ parish from 1918 to 1928, Wooster School continues to flourish today, educating students from grades 5-12.

A poignant element of the ceremony was the chiming of the carillon bells installed in St. James’ bell tower in 1928. The bells’ music resonated throughout Danbury as the Witness Stone was placed, creating a powerful atmosphere.

This collaborative event served as a testament to the shared commitment of Wooster School and St. James Episcopal Church to education, social justice, and the remembrance of history.