Around the Island

Discussion to focus on Manor families: 7th annual Black History event

As part of the celebration of Black History Month, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm will present a discussion on three generations of families at Sylvester Manor and Lloyd’s Manor in Huntington.

Titled “Manor to Manor: Shaping America,” the discussion will be offered in partnership with Eastville Community Historical Society (ECHS). The conversation will feature Donnamarie Barnes, Curator at Sylvester Manor and Lauren Brincat, Curator at Lloyd’s Manor. Moderated by Georgette Grier-Key, Ph.D., ECHS Executive Director, the program will explore the connections between the families of Sylvester Manor and Lloyd’s Manor. The two locations were connected through Tammero and Oyou of Sylvester Manor, whose grandson Jupiter Hammon of Lloyd’s Manor was the first published African American poet.

The discussion is free to attend via Zoom on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. Preregistering is required. (eventbrite.com/e/manor-to-manor-shaping-america-tickets-140365353551)

Donnamarie Barnes began working at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm in 2016 as curator/ archivist after working for over 30 years in photojournalism as a photo editor. Her ongoing work of conserving the various collections at the Manor, researching and uncovering the lives and identities of the enslaved and indigenous people of Sylvester Manor is an integral part of the organization’s mission to preserve, cultivate and share the stories of all the people of Sylvester Manor.

Ms. Barnes has curated the exhibitions, “Women of the Manor,” “A Place in Pictures” and “All That Has Been: Our Roots Revealed.” Her work at the Manor also includes ongoing photography projects relating to the memory of slavery.

Ms. Barnes has been focusing on bringing to light more about the lives of enslaved people who lived and worked at the Manor. In most cases, little was known about their lives other than what was recorded in a book of accounts.

This was not uncommon, she said in a recent interview, for to acknowledge too much about the enslaved lives you would have to face a consciousness of what you were doing to them. “Would you enslave people in the first place,” she asked, if you could relate to their lives.

She’s made a determined effort to integrate the streams of knowledge from the Manor into a single history. It’s part of the growing reckoning with the record of slavery throughout the East End, and of Northern slavery in general, that is still coming to light.

Lauren Brincat is the curator of Preservation Long Island where she oversees a collection of over 3,000 objects, 185 cubic feet of archival materials, and three historic houses, including Joseph Lloyd Manor.

The moderator, Dr. Georgette Lovette Grier-Key, is the executive director and chief curator of Eastville Community Historical Society of Sag Harbor.

Dr. Grier-Key is a historian, preservationist and curator, using her skills and experience as an organizer and activist to further the agenda of inclusion in traditional frameworks that have practiced institutional and structural exclusion. She is President of NAACP Brookhaven Town Branch, an adjunct assistant professor at CUNY Medgar Evers College and the director of the Long Island History Institute at SUNY Nassau Community College.

Once a Native American hunting, fishing and farming ground, Sylvester Manor has since 1651 been home to 11 generations of its original European settler family. Given to the Shelter Island community in 2014, the 235-acre historic site is the most intact slaveholding plantation remnant north of Virginia.