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The Shoeleather History Project conducts walking tours of Hartford’s “history from below,” the ordinary people who are the real makers of history.
As Howard Zinn said: ” History is not inevitably useful. It can bind us or free us.”
The first route covers the Front Street neighborhood and the Old State House Square on Central Row. It includes Emma Goldman, James Connolly, Big Bill Haywood, John Brown, union organizer Rebecca Weiner, suffragist Josephine Bennett, Augustus Washington, Mary Townsend Seymour, artist Alton Tobey, Emmeline Pankhurst, and much more.
The second tour (Charter Oak Avenue to Huyshope Ave.) introduces Hartford’s boy genius and the golden boy, the Solidarity priest and the radical rabbi, the doctor who was a Puerto Rican revolutionary and the doctor who created the first WMD, struggles of women factory workers, tenants, the unemployed and homeless, Mark Twain, baseball and more.
The third tour is Union Place, site of the historic train station, the birthplace of the city’s counter culture, the garment workers strike of 1919, gypsies, tramps and thieves, and much more. This walk (under an hour) ends up with beer and pizza at the Federal Cafe.
“If there’s a self-guided option available, I usually take it because I need to move at my own pace. Steve Thornton’s walking tours are an exception. He’s engaging, conversational, and though he’s knowledgeable, his stories are not delivered on autopilot. Go to his website and get on his email list to learn about upcoming tour dates.”
Fourth Tour: Justice & Faith, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Hartford’s First Black Church. With: Ann Plato, Rev. Hosea Easton, Rebecca Primus, James Mars, Selah Africanus, the Martyr and the War Criminal, and much more.