Historic reminders

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Long Island and Queens are home to a several places where history was made by African-Americans. Slave quarters where the first published African-American poet lived and wrote. Secret stops on the route of the Underground Railroad. The home of the inventor-draftsman who worked with both Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell.

A tour of such sites offers diverse insights into the roles of people of African descent in American history and culture.


Lakeville AME Zion Church, 519 Community Dr, Manhasset, 516-627-2061; the Free Black Village of Success, a community of free blacks, former slaves and American Indians was established in 1829 on what is now Community Drive; a cemetery and two residences are all that remain. Church is open to all during Sunday services.

African American Museum of Nassau County, 110 N. Franklin St., Hempstead, 516-572-0730, www.aamoflongisland.org; a rich repository of history with rotating exhibits; home of the African Atlantic Genealogy Society.


Henry Lloyd Manor, 41 Lloyd Harbor Rd., 631-424-6110, and Joseph Lloyd Manor House, Lloyd Harbor Road and Lloyd Lane, 631-692-4664, splia.org/histlloyd.htm; both on the Lloyd Neck peninsula. Many of Long Island's early farms, like Southern plantations they resembled, relied on slave labor. The 1766 Joseph Lloyd Manor House is where Jupiter Hammon, slave and poet, is certain to have lived. The 1711 Henry Lloyd Manor later served as gatehouse to Marshall Field III's estate, now Caumsett State Historic Park.

Bethel AME Church of Setauket, 33 Christian Ave., a few blocks west of North Country Road, 631-751-4140; one of the oldest African-American churches in continuous use on Long Island. The first building for which records survive went up on Christian Avenue in 1848. The current building was erected in 1874.

Tuthill Slave Cemetery, King Street and Narrow River Road, Orient; site of the Tuthill slave cemetery near the mouth of the cattail-lined Narrow River. A historic marker notes that Dr. Seth Tuthill and his wife, Maria, are buried with their former slaves -- many of whom stayed on as servants after manumission, about 1830.

St. David AME Zion Church, Eastville Avenue, Sag Harbor; believed to have been an Underground Railroad station.

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Pyrrhus Concer Monument, Pond Lane at Lake Agawam, Southampton; an enterprising freed slave, born 1814, is memorialized with a bronze marker and an anchor symbolizing his seafaring career. Concer was a whaleboat crewman, prospected for gold in California, and operated a sailboat ferry across Lake Agawam.

William Floyd Estate, 245 Park Dr., Mastic Beach, off William Floyd Parkway; home of slave-owning signer of Declaration of Independence; May to October; 631-399-2030, nps.gov/archive/fiis/williamfloydestate.htm. Guided tours of the mansion, where eight generations of Floyds lived until 1975, and self-guided tours of the 613-acre grounds that stretch to within sight of Fire Island.


Macedonia AME, 37-22 Union St., Flushing, 718-353-3870, macedoniaamechurch.org; oldest African-American church in Queens, was founded by a congregation of blacks, whites and American Indians in 1811. Believed to have served as a northern terminal of the Underground Railroad. Original building was destroyed by fire; the current church stands on the same site.

Quaker Friends Meeting House, 137-16 Northern Blvd., Flushing, 718-358-9636, nyym.org/flushing/hmh/html; believed to have been an Underground Railroad station. Oldest house of worship in continuous use in New York.

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Bowne House, 37-01 Bowne St., Flushing, 718-359-0528; bownehouse.org; John Bowne's defense of liberty of conscience (freedom of religion) in defiance of Gov. Peter Stuyvesant; believed to have been an Underground Railroad station.

Kingsland Homestead, Weeping Beech Park, 143-35 37th Ave., Flushing, 718-939-0647, queenshistoricalsociety.org, home of the Queens Historical Society; believed to have been an Underground Railroad station.

Lewis H. Latimer House, 34-41 137 St. (Leavitt St.), Flushing, 718-961-8585, historichousetrust.org. Lattimer, son of a runaway Virginia slave, became Thomas Edison's chief draftsman and later improved on his electric lightbulb with a carbon filament. He also did the original drawings for Bell's first telephone.

Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, 102-09 Northern Blvd., Corona, 718-651-1100, queenslibrary.org; home of city's largest circulating black heritage literary collection, exhibits.

Louis Armstrong House, 34-56 107th St. in Corona, 718-478-8274, is a national historic site. Jazzman Armstrong lived in the home from 1943 to his death in 1971, along with his wife, Lucille.


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