Commemorating African American History: Sylvester Manor & Eastville Team Up to Tell Historical Stories

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, in partnership with Eastville Community Historical Society, will present their 6th Annual Black History Month Celebration on Sunday, Feb. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bay Street Theatre, 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor.

This year, Cordell Reaves and Dr. Christopher Matthews will present how various pieces make up an historic story and the ways those stories are uncovered through social sciences, humanities, archaeology, oral history and documentation. Methods and practices for sharing and presenting those stories with the public will be explored.

The speakers’ backgrounds in archaeology, anthropology, museum and historic interpretation will highlight various ways in which institutions and communities are uncovering the history of the enslaved, where documentation and specific records are unable to provide us with the story.

These methods are aiding the work being done at Sylvester Manor, Eastville Community Historical Society and elsewhere on the East End of Long Island.

Cordell Reaves is a seasoned museum professional (educator, interpreter, project manager) who has worked with museums and historic sites coordinating exhibitions, designing and implementing programs, creating community outreach initiatives and increasing cultural heritage tourism. He uses history as a vehicle to allow others to examine their own sense of identity and community.

Museums are community nexus points that provide an opportunity to pivot our point of view and debate ideas. As a museum professional, Cordell works to present a complete and accurate history, ensuring that all stories are presented to the public.

Dr. Christopher Matthews is a historical archaeologist and professor of anthropology at Montclair State University. His research interests are the archaeology of capitalism and race in the United States and the practice of community-based research. His work is focused on sites associated with slavery and freedom, and he has directed field projects in Maryland, Louisiana, New York and New Jersey.

Dr. Matthews earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in 1998. He is the author of two books, “An Archaeology of History” and Tradition and The Archaeology of American Capitalism.

He is also co-editor of “Ethnographic Archaeologies: Reflections on Stakeholders and Archaeological Practice” as well as the author of several book chapters and articles in journals such as Historical Archaeology, Journal of Social Archaeology, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, and Archaeologies.

The presentations and discussions will run from 2 to 3:30 p.m., followed by a reception from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and are available for purchase by visiting www.sylvestermanor.org/ black-history-2020 or by calling the Manor at 631.749.0626.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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