200 Years After His Death, A Connecticut Slave Will Be Buried

Based on remains, Researchers To Create 3D Image

Image
Fortune, an 18th-century Connecticut slave.
Photo:Courtesy of the Mattatuck Museum.
200 Years After His Death, a Connecticut Slave Will Be Buried
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
200 Years After His Death, a Connecticut Slave Will Be Buried

More than 200 years after his death, the remains of an 18th-century Connecticut slave will soon receive a proper burial.  

The slave is known as Fortune. He, his wife, and three children were owned by a doctor whose medical practice was in Waterbury. 

After Fortune died, the doctor used his skeleton as a teaching tool for students.  Later, it was donated to the Mattatuck Museum and put on display.  The skeleton was called “Larry”.  

After the display was removed in the 1980s, researchers  determined that the bones were, in fact, those of the slave,  Fortune.

Bob Burns is director of the Mattatuck Museum.

"Recently we partnered with Quinnipiac University’s forensic school. And they’re working on creating a 3D image of what Mr. Fortune’s face would most likely have looked like, based on the surviving skull. And they also did a high-density scan that enables us to do a 3D printing of the bones."

And because its possible to make copies of the bones, Fortune’s remains will now be interred.  Burns says a local priest will perform the burial, a funeral director has donated a coffin and Riverside Cemetery in Waterbury is providing a plot.

"We’ve invited all the local African American churches in Waterbury to participate by attending, by  having their ministers sit on the alter or by providing music."

The Connecticut slave will be buried in September.

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.