Formerly titled African Free School No. 3 until 1850 when the Board of Education of the City of Brooklyn gained control over all public schools and changed its name, Colored School No. 3 was a school designated for black students. Colored School No. 3 is the only schoolhouse whose structure still stands, permitting the memory of race-based segregation in education, regardless of its telling, to inundate the streets of Williamsburg and the lives of its current residents.
I stood in the gates of the building that once housed students of a past Black Brooklyn. Already knowledgable about the significance of the African Free School turned Colored School, I imagined young black students entering the gates of this building. I leaned in awe of the determination to learn, to subvert oppression, and to find solace inside the walls of this brownstone.