In recognition of Black History Month, celebrated in February, juniors studying U.S. History at North Haven High School were treated to an interactive Black history experience care of retired New Haven police officer Jeffrey Fletcher.
During his Feb. 16 presentation, Fletcher discussed the history of slavery and displayed his collection of historical artifacts, some dating back to the 1660s. Students were able to see up-close – and even touch – tools used to keep slaves from running away, such as neck braces, shackles and handcuffs.
“I want you to understand and take a piece of history with you as you leave today,” said Fletcher, who runs the Ruby & Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum, located at 952 East Broadway in Stratford.
Fletcher said, in the past, people have left his presentation with heads down, feeling shame. He said that is not his intention.
Toward the end of the talk, Fletcher gave students a virtual tour of his museum, which opened in 2021.
The NHHS Diversity Team was responsible for lining up Fletcher’s Feb. 16 presentation. The Diversity Team's advisors, Christena Beckford and Aqsa Kahloan, said they wanted to create an event for Black History Month "that would showcase African American History's importance in the history of the United States.”
Principal Russell Dallai said, “We appreciate Mr. Fletcher sharing his time, expertise, and invaluable collection with NHHS.”
During his talk, Fletcher said the Ruby & Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum is always looking for student helpers. “Come be a part of history and volunteer at the museum, where you may learn something new,” he said.
The museum is open for individual and group visits. Admission is free.