In a past life, I worked on a project where the goal was to find ways the bring academic institutions and African American historic sites together to help meet some of the challenges that those historic sites faced. While working on that project, I was on the hunt for African American historic places around the nation. One of the my most surprising discoveries was the Brownington Village Historic District in Brownington, VT.
Brownington had the distinction of being the home of Alexander Twilight (1795-1857), a Congregational Minister, educator, and the builder of the Old Stone House, a former dormitory for the Orleans County Grammar School. Twilight was also the first African American to graduate from an American college, having earned his degree from Middlebury College in 1823. Twilight was also the first African American elected to a state legislature, having been elected to the Vermont General Assembly in 1836.
Discovering people like Twilight, and places like the Brownington Village Historic District has only reminded me that I chose the right field, and that it is important to share what I learn.