February 24, 2020
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A Select Designation

Published Oct. 16, 2019

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Kudos to the Valley Courier for its outstanding coverage of the Chester Land Trust’s Connecticut Freedom Trail celebration on Oct. 6. On that day, the State of Connecticut honored the town’s land trust for its Judge Constance Baker Motley Preserve, a seven-acre site formerly owned by Judge Motley on Cedar Lake Road in Chester, that was designated a “Heritage Site” on the trail.

Reporter Karena Garrity’s article “Judge Motley’s Chester Home is Newest Site on Freedom Trail” on Oct. 3 was the most thoughtful, informative advance article we saw on this event statewide. And in your Oct. 10 edition, photographer Kelley Fryer’s collection of beautiful online photos perfectly captured the celebratory spirit and inspiration the event evoked. Both women represent news reporting excellence.

The Chester Land Trust’s Preserve and the former Motley home, became the 140th site placed on the Connecticut Freedom Trail. This is a select designation for sites that celebrate extraordinary African Americans whose efforts expanded freedom and opportunity for all Americans. Judge Motley, who had a home in Chester for 40 years, was a legendary civil rights lawyer who helped dismantle segregation in the south, and later expanded equal access and justice for all with her landmark decisions as a distinguished federal judge.

Everyone involved in making the Freedom Trail event a success deserves thanks—from the hard working Chester Land Trust organizers, to our state representatives and state officials who oversaw the ceremony, to the Motley family, the public who attended, and the Valley Courier, which covered it accurately and well. For more info on the Judge Motley Preserve, visit To watch the Oct 6 Freedom Trail ceremony, visit

Marta Daniels