History of the Beman Triangle

This house was a part of the Beman Triangle, a community where Black people could own homes and property. Started in 1847 by Leverett Beman (1810-1883), the grandson of a slave and the son of a local preacher, it was one of the few free Black-owned community spaces in all of Connecticut. Leverett Beman is not the start of his family's legacy; his grandfather, Cesar Beman, fought to gain his freedom in the American Revolution, however, Connecticut did not fully outlaw slavery until 1848 due to the very gradual nature of the state's 1784 gradual emancipation law. The last name Beman is no coincidence; it was chosen because the formerly enslaved Beman family wanted a name that validated their autonomy and humanity, hence be-a-man became Beman. This plot of land was likely able to be sold to freed Black people partially due to it being prone to flooding, having been referred to as part of or near the "Dead Swamp" and flooding has been a constant part of the difficulties living there. After 1900, few Black families moved into the community and by 1920, the Beman Triangle's once free Black community had essentially dissolved, as the larger Black population in Middletown dwindled to an all-time low. Today, much of this historic community is owned by Wesleyan University and used as housing for students.


Source: Cunningham, J.P. and Warner, E.A. (2002). Experiment in community. Connecticut Historical Commission.

For more information regarding the historical significance of the Beman Triangle, please visit the following: Beman Triangle History