NHS Annual Meeting: Discover the Legacy of James L. Smith

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NHS Annual Meeting: Discover the Legacy of James L. Smith

March 27, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Please join Shiela Hayes, former Norwich Branch NAACP President, Sandra Soucy, retired Social Studies teacher from the Norwich Free Academy and Norwich Historical Society Board Member, and Adam Bowles, Lead Pastor at Castle Church as they take a deep dive into James Lindsey Smith’s life and explore the multi-faceted nature of his story of slavery, racial issues, education, political history, and religion. Our talk will highlight key points in Smith’s life, explore how modern research helps us attach a sense of place to his story, and how Castle Church is using Smith’s legacy to transform a blighted courtyard into a beautiful community space that celebrates resilience. This feature presentation will be preceded by a brief Norwich Historical Society business meeting.

Born on a Virginia plantation, Smith escaped slavery in 1838 with the help of Norwich’s David Ruggles, a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad in New York City. Smith came to Norwich, bought a house on School Street in 1845 and worked downtown as a shoemaker. Smith is a powerful and inspirational example of how an escaped slave traveled north for his freedom and how settling in Norwich, Connecticut changed his life. His 1881 autobiography remains an important first hand account of the era.

Social time: 5:30pm-6:00pm, light refreshments will be provided. 

Business Meeting and Presentations begin at 6:00pm 

A suggested donation is welcome to support Castle Church and the Norwich Historical Society.

Parking: Main Street Parking Garage


March 27, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm




Castle Church
4 Broadway
Norwich, CT 06360 United States
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