"Nearly 150 years before the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia (1967), an interracial marriage between a Cherokee student and the daughter of a powerful white family divided the Northwest Corner of Connecticut." - Sharon Historical Society
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions out of Boston, caught up in the spirit of religious revival unleashed by the Second Great Awakening, founded the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall in 1817. There, over 100 Native American, Chinese, Native Hawaiians and some non-English speaking whites, were trained to bring Christianity back to their communities. Within ten years, however, racial tensions unleashed by the courtship between a Native American student and a white woman from Cornwall brought the school to a violent end. Linus Barnes will explore the hopes that led to the establishment of the Foreign Mission School, the great divide it opened in the town, and its complicated legacy.
Linus Barnes is a member of the Class of 2023 at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, CT, and an intern at the Sharon Historical Society. He will attend Vassar College in the fall.