Did You Know Martin Luther King Jr. Had a Connecticut Connection?
I consider myself somewhat of a history buff, but I had no idea Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. actually spent two summers as a farm worker in Connecticut.
As we celebrate the Birthday and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I came across a bit of interesting information that links Dr. King with Connecticut.
According to the Simsbury Historical Society, and patch.com, Martin Luther King Jr. actually spent two summers as a farm worker in north-central Connecticut when he worked at the Cullman Brothers shade tobacco fields in Simsbury.
At the time, the Cullman Brothers had a student exchange arrangement with Morehouse College of Atlanta, Georgia. Students came to Connecticut to work on the tobacco farm in exchange for a salary that went towards tuition and board at the college.
King wound up spending the summers of 1944 and 1947 working on a non-segregated farm for the first time ever. His first trip to Connecticut came when he was just 15-years-old and was trying to get accepted into Morehouse. He returned as a full-time student in 1947 at the age of 18.
Dr. King's experiences in Connecticut were very influential in helping to shape his quest for equal rights. While in Connecticut, he enjoyed more freedoms than he ever had in the south.
A video documentary titled Summers of Freedom: Martin Luther in Connecticut, produced by Simsbury High School students, highlights the late civil rights leader's time in Connecticut, and the privileges he experienced for the first time in his life.
Here's a rare 1961 BBC interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.