Brooklyn Boro

Veteran arts administrator Codrington named as CEO of Weeksville

Was once largest US community of antebellum free African Americans

April 20, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff

The Board of Trustees of Weeksville Heritage Center recently announced the appointment of Dr. Raymond Codrington as chief executive officer. He succeeds Rob Fields and began working in his position on Monday.

Dr. Codrington joins Weeksville from Hi-ARTS in East Harlem, where he served as executive director since 2015. At Hi-ARTS, he successfully expanded the organization, diversified its donor community, and oversaw partnerships with local and national cultural organizations.

Weeksville Heritage Center is a historic site in Central Brooklyn that was once one of the largest free-African American pre-Civil War communities in the U.S. Weeksville engages a community of residents, artists, and activists through exhibitions, tours, and educational programs developed to illuminate the histories of post-Civil War Black life.

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During his career, Dr. Codrington has developed programming focused on urban culture for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor of Los Angeles as an independent curator and consultant. He has also held several senior-level roles at prominent cultural institutions, including as founding director of the Julian C. Dixon Institute for Cultural Studies in Los Angeles and as anthropology curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Timothy Simons, chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “We are excited to welcome Dr. Codrington to Weeksville. His expertise as a cultural leader deeply integrated within the community will be invaluable to our organization. We are eager for him to bring his passions for research, open dialogue, and collaboration to Weeksville Heritage Center.”

Dr. Codrington said, “Weeksville has an unparalleled rich history rooted in a community that continues to support and inspire the organization to this day. It is an institution steeped in time and place that drives an urgent conversation on the importance of social justice, economic empowerment and Black ownership throughout the borough, the city, and the country. I am thrilled to join the staff and leadership of Weeksville Heritage Center to continue and expand its important mission.”

Dr. Codrington takes over the leadership of WHC after two years of financial success, beginning with the 2019 “Save Weeksville” campaign led by former President and Executive Director Fields. This campaign galvanized a community of thousands of supporters locally and globally. 

Following this successful fundraising effort, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs designated the Weeksville Heritage Center as the first new Cultural Institutions Group member (CIG) since 1997. 

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Dr. Codrington studied Government and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his doctorate in anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. He has conducted ethnographic research across the U.S. and U.K., studying race, blackness, equity, Hip-Hop, popular culture, and civic engagement. Dr. Codrington lives with his family in Brooklyn.

For more on the Weeksville Heritage Center, visit https://www.weeksvillesociety.org/


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