Making Excellence Inclusive

Middletown’s Beman Triangle: A 19th-Century African-American Neighborhood on Wesleyan’s Campus

The Beman Triangle is a unique archaeological, historical, and cultural resource for Wesleyan University, the City of Middletown, and the State of Connecticut.  An area bounded by Vine and Cross streets and Knowles Avenue, it is the site of a 19th-century African-American community associated with the Cross Street AME Zion Church.  The Beman Triangle has become a significant part of the Archaeology Program's (ArcP) curriculum. Its archaeology and history now form part of the gateway Introduction to Archaeology course. Each of the last two spring semesters has seen a fieldwork course devoted to giving Wesleyan archaeology students first-hand experience in actual excavation practices and to demonstrating the archaeological potential of the site.  The site could become the focus of a transdisciplinary program that would involve not only the ArcP, but also faculty and students from the Anthropology, History, Art History, American, and African American Studies programs. The existence of excavatable areas, of original residential structures and of documentary records in city hall, together with the information that can be provided by community groups, provide rich opportunities for original research. The material recovered in excavation will become part of Wesleyan's archaeological and ethnographic collections, where it can be used for student research and exhibitions.

Beman Triangle Advisory Committee

Co-Chair: Douglas Charles, Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology

Co-Chair: Rev. Moses Harvill, Pastor of the Cross Street AME Zion Church

Gina Ulysse, Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies

Sarah Croucher, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Archaeology, & Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Clark Maines, Professor of Art History, Archaeology, Medieval Studies, & Kenan Professor of the Humanities

Indira Karamcheti, Associate Professor of English and American Studies

Elizabeth Milroy, Professor of Art History, American Studies, & Environmental Studies

Nathan Ratner ’09, MA student in Anthropology

Elizabeth Warner, local historian & faculty for Wesleyan’s Lifelong Learning Institute

Len Weston Piexotto, Project Coordinator for Community Renewal Team's Youth Program