FortuneWaterbury in the 18th CenturySlavery in WaterburyReligion and SlaveryWaterbury's African AmericansWaterbury's Slave OwnersResources
Fortune as he may have looked in life. Painted by William Westwood, a medical illustrator, based on Fortune's skeleton.


In the early 20th century, the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut was given the skeleton of an African American man named Fortune, who had been enslaved in Waterbury during the 18th century. His bones had been preserved by the man who had enslaved him, a local doctor. The bones remained in the doctor's family for four more generations, until they were given to the museum.

Research has now revealed much about Fortune’s life and the world in which he lived. A team of anthropologists, archeologists and historians, working with the museum’s staff, have given us new insights into local history and slavery in Connecticut, through their study of Fortune’s bones and historical documents.

This has been a community-based project with the members of the museum’s African American History Project Committee serving as a liaison with the public. They have met with the researchers to discuss the new insights, issues, and discoveries of Fortune’s life and the possible causes of his death.




Fortune's Skull
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