Former slave’s family grave is restored

VIDEO - An expert is helping to return one of Connecticut's best-known former slave's family gravesite to its proper place.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

An expert is helping to return one of Connecticut’s best-known former slave’s family gravesite to its proper place.

History is alive at the first church cemetery in East Haddam. This is the final resting place for former slave, Venture Smith, and his wife Meg. But for years her headstone had been missing.

Douglas R. Jones is a local expert on Venture Smith, and often lectures about him.

He says Smith ended up in the U.S. and was forced to work as a slave. But, he also worked other jobs on the side. He eventually saved enough money to buy his freedom, the freedom of his family, and others.

Smith even amassed a large fortune and bought waterfront property in Connecticut.

Venture Smith was buried at this church when he died.

Scientists looking to trace Smith’s African roots through DNA dug up the graves of Smith and his wife.

While they were reburied, her gravestone was never returned because restoration effort stalled.

Now, with the help of others, Douglas Jones has returned the stone to its roots.