Around the Island

Sylvester Manor celebrates black history

SCOTT FEIERSTEIN PHOTO From left, Donnamarie Barnes of Sylvester Manor, Henry Maxwell Letcher II, Shane Weeks, Karl Schwarz and Georgette Grier-Key during the 2018 panel discussion at Bay Street Theater in honor of Black History Month.

Panelists will discuss slavery on the East End at the Bay Street Theater on Sunday, February 24, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm (SMEF) in partnership with Eastville Community Historical Society (ECHS) in Sag Harbor will present the 5th Annual Black History Month Celebration at the Bay Street Theater on Sunday, February 24, from 2 to 4 p.m. This year’s program, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Facing the Enslaved History of the East End,” will explore the history of slavery on the East End of Long Island and the omission of that history from the founding narrative of the United States.

The program will consist of visual presentations and a panel of speakers involved in projects to bring the stories, histories and lives of the early enslaved African people who lived, worked and died on the Eastern End of Long Island to light. Their names and facts of their lives can be found in documents and archives and by asking simple questions: How many slaves lived here, what did they do, where did they go, where are they buried?

Panel discussions and presentations will run from 2 to 3:30 p.m. followed by a reception until 4 p.m. Panelists include Dr. Georgette Grier-Key, executive director and curator of ECHS; Aileen Novick, site administrator and project manager of Hempsted Houses of Connecticut Landmarks; David Rattray, owner and editor of The East Hampton Star and director of the East Hampton Plain Sight Project; and Donnamarie Barnes, curator and archivist at SMEF.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and are available for purchase by visiting or by calling the Manor at (631) 749-0626. The Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor.

Once a Native American hunting and fishing ground, Sylvester Manor has since 1652 been home to 11 generations of its original European settler family. Over time, the place has been transformed from a slaveholding provisioning plantation to an Enlightenment-era farm, then to a pioneering food industrialist’s estate and today to an organic educational farm responsive to, and supported by, our neighbors and friends worldwide. In light of this history, the farm staff envisions a farm, a community and a world where people celebrate food, arts and inventiveness in the everyday, with a spirit of fairness and joy.