Martin Luther King Jr.’s time in CT gaining new attention

His time in Connecticut while a college student has merited scant mention from biographers and historians, but King himself said he forged strong memories of his summer job working on a tobacco farm in Simsbury. King was among a group of young Black men recruited to work in the tobacco fields around Simsbury during the summers of 1944 and 1947, cultivating the particular tobacco leaf used to wrap cigars for the the Cullman Bros. company. For King, the time he spent in Connecticut — worshiping at a church in Simsbury, enjoying a meal in Hartford — were something of a revelation after the intensely segregated world of his native Georgia. The Jim Crow restrictions that dominated the South were far more rigid than in Northern states like Connecticut, but there were informal bans on Blacks at many hotels and restaurants across New England and indignities were routine, she said. King’s sojourn in Connecticut is receiving new attention and a permanent marker, thanks to a memorial organized by young people in Simsbury. It is to be unveiled Monday on the grounds of the Simsbury Free Library.

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