The Thin Red Line: Conn explores reparations for people of color living in the New London community, thanks to a Mellon grant

When Spencer Lancaster, a World War II Army veteran, bought a house in New London in 1972, the neighbors circulated a petition to keep him out. Lonnie Braxton II, a Navy veteran who tried to buy a house in New London around the same time, watched as banks approved mortgages for his friends at Electric Boat while his application languished. And the summer after Donetta Hodge bought her home in Waterford in 1976, she woke up one morning to find white plastic cutlery planted all over her front yard.

These are some of the stories older residents of color are sharing with local high school students interviewing them about their life histories. The three-year project is part of a $275,000 grant that Connecticut College received through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative, which is aimed at addressing the legacy of racism in communities across the United States.