Blogs > Cliopatria > Connecticut's Black "Governors"

May 23, 2006 8:41 pm

Connecticut's Black "Governors"

Norwich Connecticut resident Lewis Randall has been telling startled residents that there is a totally forgotten tradition in the town: black governors. The story predates the Revolution. It seems that in Connecticut and some other states, blacks, both slave and free, chose leaders to represent them before the town council. In some cases they were called "kings." In Norwich they were "governors." Dressed as one of these forgotten leaders, Randall recently spoke to the Norwich Historical Society. The tradition began in the 1750s, when slaves who accompanied their masters to Hartford for the annual election of the colony's governor began to choose their own local leaders. All told, there were 27 black governors in Connecticut before and after the Revolution. Ira Tossett, the man Randall impersonates, held the job until 1811.

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