NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Recognizing New Haven’s past. For the last 25 years, a longtime New Haven woman has pushed the city to recognize one of the first Black residents ever recorded in 1638.
She was an enslaved woman named Lucretia.
At 88 years old, Dr. Ann Garrett Robinson is finally getting Lucretia the recognition she deserves. She’s a longtime New Haven resident, a retired psychology professor who worked at Gateway Community College for 27 years and was also the first full-time African American professor hired at Trinity College in Hartford.
Back in 1997 while researching historical papers about education in New Haven, she made an unexpected discovery.
“Went on a hunt, sort of like a treasure hunt for the paper related to school for colored children, and in that process, we dug this one up,” Garrett Robinson said.
She found a paper about the first recorded Black resident in New Haven.
“My reaction at the time was, ‘we got it! How on Earth could this be.’” Garrett Robinson said.
For the next 25 years, Garrett Robinson has been researching, digging, and pushing the City of New Haven to do something to honor Lucretia.
“We’ve named buildings after people, we name parks after people, but where is the name for Lucrecia,” Garrett Robinson said.
Last week, her persistence paid off. New Haven’s Board of Alders unanimously voted to change the corner of Orange and Elm Streets to “Lucretia’s Corner.” It’s the place Lucretia once worked and lived.
“I was thrilled,” Garrett Robinson said. “I was excited. A dream had come true.”
A memorable moment 25 years in the making.
“It is a wonderful experience to have when you’re coming toward the end of your life, to feel that you have made a contribution,” Garrett Robinson said.
The celebration and the renaming of the corner are going to be happening sometime in December or in the new year.