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150 Events during 2012 Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 24-27

All Wesleyan alumni and their families are invited to participate in the Parade of Classes. This traditional Wesleyan festivity begins at 11:30 a.m. May 26.

Join the Wesleyan community for class reunions, educational WESeminars, picnics, campus tours, a parade of classes and much more during the 2012 Reunion & Commencement festivities May 24-May 27 on campus.

Highlights include an Eclectic party featuring The Rooks; an all-college picnic and festival on Foss Hill; a 50th Reunion and President’s Reception for the Class of 1962; a champagne reception for graduating seniors and their families; an eco-friendly All-College Dinner; “Senior Voices” with the Class of 2012; the traditional All-College Sing; Andrus Field Tent party featuring Kinky Spigot and the Welders; and of course, the 180th Commencement Ceremony on May 27. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ’87, a leading advocate for education reforms that support great teaching, will deliver the Commencement address.

“With more than 150 events, R&C Weekend literally has something for everyone,” says Gemma Fontanella Ebstein, associate vice president for external relations. “But it’s really the people – alumni, students, faculty, staff and their families – who make the weekend memorable.”

WESeminars provide opportunities to revisit the classroom and experience firsthand the academic excellence that is the essence of Wesleyan, with presentations by scholars, pundits,

5 Questions With . . . Sarah Croucher on Middletown’s Beman Triangle

Assistant professor Sarah Croucher is leading an archeological dig in the Beman Triangle, located between Vine Street, Cross Street, and Knowles Ave. Local resident Leverett Beman divided the land in 1847, and sold these plots off to other African-American families. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask 5 Questions of Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. Croucher will lead an archaeological dig on the site of the Beman Triangle in Middletown on April 28-29. The public is welcome to attend. To view photos of the dig on April 14-15 click here

Q: Professor Croucher, what exactly is the Beman Triangle and what is its significance to the history of Middletown?

A: The Beman Triangle is the land between Vine Street, Cross Street, and Knowles Ave., where homes have existed since the early 19th century. Local historian Liz Warner has shown that something very important happened here in the mid- to late-19th century. Leverett Beman, son of the first Pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church in Middletown, had the land divided into plots by a surveyor in 1847, and sold these plots off to other African-American families. This seems to be a deliberately planned community; a way that members of the AME Zion Church could become property owners (something that remains hard for many people today), and live as neighbors in a relatively prosperous community. The Beman Triangle is of national importance as very few African-Americans were able to go through a similar community-building process in the mid-nineteenth century, when they still lacked U.S. citizenship and slavery was still legal in many states. Although the houses might not look like much today, the site is an important testament to the lives of the nineteenth century Beman Triangle community.

Q:  What do we know already about the AME Zion Church community?

A: There has been some wonderful historical research done on the Beman Triangle community by local historians Liz Warner and Janice Cunningham, as well as Wesleyan alumnus Jesse Nasta as part of his thesis. This work has shown us how active the residents were politically, in ways that are traceable through historical documents.

Students, Local Community Participate in Archaeology Dig

Students enrolled in Wesleyan's "Middletown Materials" class let an archeological excavation April 14-15 at the Beman Triangle on campus. The Beman Triangle is the land between Vine Street, Cross Street, and Knowles Ave., where homes have existed since the early 19th century. Pictured, teaching assistant Miriam Manda '12 helps local resident Mark with setting up a site.

Wesleyan Leads Local Archaeological Dig

The Hartford Courant featured an archaeological dig of the “Beman Triangle” site by Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, along with Wesleyan students and community volunteers. The archaeologists hope to uncover household items that paint a picture of the day-to-day lives of the black families who owned property on the site–bordered by Vine Street, Cross Street and Knowles Ave.–in the mid-19th century.

Croucher Discusses Beman Triangle

In an episode of WNPR’s “Where We Live,” Sarah Croucher, assistant professor anthropology, assistant professor archeology, discusses the upcoming dig at Beman Triangle, a site in Middletown, Conn. that was the center of the city’s African American community in the 19th and early 20th century.

Service Learning Class Studies Local Cemetery

Elizabeth Milroy, director of the Art History Program and professor of art history and American studies, and Anne Calder '11 use a scanning tool to survey grave markers in the Washington/Vine Street Cemetery Oct. 2.

Elizabeth Milroy, director of the Art History Program and professor of art history and American studies, and Anne Calder '11 use a scanning tool to survey grave markers in the Washington/Vine Street Cemetery Oct. 2.

On Oct. 10, 1741, Mr. William Bartlit was laid to rest in the Vine/Washington Street Cemetery near Wesleyan University. According to his gravestone, Bartlit was “aged about 70 years” and was “the first interred in this yard.”

“Mr. Bartlit has the oldest marker in this cemetery,” says Elizabeth Milroy, director of the Art History Program and professor of art history and American studies at Wesleyan University. “We would like to find out more about him.”

Milroy, who is teaching the Service Learning Course AMST 205 “The Study
of Material Culture: Marking the Past in Middletown,” is assigning each of her eight students particular grave markers in the cemetery. Students will conduct research on a deceased person, while studying how artifacts can mark the history of space and place within the urban environment of Middletown.

John Hinchman, a lecturer and research specialist in the Architectural Conservation Laboratory of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania, teaches Anne Calder '11 how to conduct a digital site survey using a total station. The equipment records the 3-D location of the corner of each stone on the site, and results in an accurate representation of the cemetery. Calder is enrolled in the class, "The Study of Material Culture: Marking the Past in Middletown."

John Hinchman, a lecturer and research specialist in the Architectural Conservation Laboratory of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania, teaches Anne Calder '11 how to conduct a digital site survey using a total station. The equipment records the 3-D location of the corner of each stone on the site, and results in an accurate representation of the cemetery. Calder is enrolled in the class, "The Study of Material Culture: Marking the Past in Middletown."

In addition, students will gain a working knowledge of the theoretical approaches that have been applied to material culture studies, as well as practical experience in the physical and contextual analysis of artifacts and cultural landscapes.

On Oct. 2-3, John Hinchman, a lecturer and research specialist in the Architectural Conservation Laboratory of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania, taught Milroy’s students how to use a “total station” and scanner tool to map the cemetery’s terrain and grave markers. The collected data is imported into engineering software AutoCAD, and as a result, the class will have a detailed and accurate map of the entire cemetery’s physical layout.

“There’s no paper work on this cemetery, so we know no more about who is buried here than what their headstones say,” says Augie DeFrance, president of the Middletown Old Burial Ground Association.

At the end of the semester,