Sylvester Manor Educational Farm in partnership with Eastville Community Historical Society (ECHS) will commemorate Black History Month by presenting Hidden in Plain Sight: Facing the Enslaved History of the East End, a panel discussion and presentations that will focus on the history of slavery on Long Island’s East End, as well as the exclusion of their story from the nation’s founding narrative.
Panelists will include Dr. Georgette Grier-Key, Executive Director/Curator of Eastville Community Historical Society, Sag Harbor; Aileen Novick, Site Administrator /Project Manager; Hempsted Houses of Connecticut Landmarks, Connecticut; David Rattray, Owner/Editor of The East Hampton Star Newspaper and Director of the East Hampton Plain Sight Project, East Hampton; and Donnamarie Barnes, Curator/ archivist Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, Shelter Island.
“This year’s Black History Month program will focus on the identities and stories of the enslaved African people who lived and worked on the East End of Long Island since the founding of the various towns and villages,” Barnes explained. “Their existence has been documented in wills, inventory lists and church records but their stories have not been taught and their names are not known to us although they were a major part of the beginnings of this part of the United States.”
Sylvester Manor and ECHS’s 5th Annual Black History Month Celebration will take place on Sunday, February 24 at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.
“Time flies when you’re having fun, can’t believe we are in our 5th year!” Dr. Grier-Key expressed. “In this collaboration between Sylvester Manor Education Farm and Eastviile Community Historical Society we highlight the cultural significance of the East End and the enslaved Africans, not always visible in fabric of our everyday lives.”
The event will explore topics such as how many slaves resided locally, what their daily lives looked like, where they traveled, where they were laid to rest, and more.
“By identifying and enumerating them we hope to begin a dialogue and process of understanding about the role Northern Slavery played in our own communities and how diversity has really always been a part of our American story,” Barnes added.
The programming will begin with the panel discussions and presentations at 2 p.m., followed by a reception at 3:30 p.m.
“The weight of richness and sense of tremendous gratitude and honor I feel when I think of who they were, how they lived, their memory and the fact that we are here to talk about it, I can’t find words to express my sentiments,” Dr. Grier-Key added. “If I had my way, I would want a wish, to be granted one wish, absolutely not to go back in time but to bring them into the future to ask them a few questions.”
Tickets to Hidden in Plain Sight: Facing the Enslaved History of the East End are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.
Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call the Manor at 631-749-0626 or visit www.sylvestermanor.org.