A Life in Color – Black History Month @ Sherman Historical Society

The Sherman Historical Society shared the story of Florence Quammie whose abbreviated bio is told in the book, A Life In Color. It is a fascinating look into the early 20th-century history of this charming Connecticut village.

Courtesy A Life in Color and the Sherman Historical Society

It was the year 1933 when the Quammies moved to Sherman, Joseph Allan, his wife Flora Mae and their two children, Florence and Gerald. At the time, Florence was only six years old. The family moved from the Bronx and, they were the first black family to make their home in Sherman. The potential for complications could come into play for this interesting transition. The history for it was certainly there.
During the Civil War and despite abolitionists’ cries, the majority of the North was not fighting for slaves’ rights; in fact, many couldn’t have cared less either way; for them, the fight was about preserving the Union.  During and after it, the influx of freed Blacks moving north to find work in the industrialized cities came up against both American-born and immigrant workers who saw their jobs threatened by the new arrivals.

The book interviews Florence at 80 years old. Her story is refreshing and one that destroys stereotypes and expectations. Her parents came to Sherman to work for the Walter Evans family at “Estwick,” (the stately 1804 Federal Colonial home on the corner of Chapel Hill). “The Evanses treated us like family; they took to my brother and me like their own.” In fact, Florence enjoyed many activities she might not otherwise have known, among them: learning to play tennis and piano and attending numerous concerts and plays.

In the book, a Life of Color, Florence recalls the many wonderful times she had growing up in Sherman. She was accepted by the children of the town in school and made many lasting friendships with no racial barriers. This book is inspiring and shows that tolerance breeds goodness and acceptance breeds community.

A Life in Color is available from the Sherman Historical Society’s Old Store or by contacting them via email office@shermanhistoricalsociety.org

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