The place where one of America’s first African American published writers made his home has been given Literary Landmark designation.
The Joseph Lloyd Manor, an 18th-century manor house in Lloyd Harbor where Jupiter Hammon lived, wrote and was enslaved, will host a plaque unveiling and virtual celebration on Saturday. The day also marks Hammon’s 309th birthday and is National Black Poetry Day.
The Literary Landmarks Association was founded in 1986 to encourage the designation of historic literary sites and is a program of United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.
"We’re very excited about the designation," said Andrea Hart, public affairs director at Preservation Long Island, a regional preservation advocacy nonprofit. "The library association will promote the site and get the word out about the designation, who’s being honored and the location’s history."
The Joseph Lloyd Manor House, completed in 1768, was the seat of a 3,000-acre agricultural estate. Preservation Long Island, based in Cold Spring Harbor, has owned Joseph Lloyd Manor since 1968. The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Hammon’s life and writings offer an exceptionally nuanced view of slavery and freedom on Long Island before and after the American Revolution, preservation officials said. His works, which were published in his lifetime while he was enslaved by the Lloyd family, are especially significant because most literature and historical documents from that era were not written from an enslaved person’s point of view. Hammon’s writings provide powerful insights into the experience of the enslaved, as well as the social and moral conflicts slavery raised in the newly formed United States, preservation officials said.
An initiative at the manor house to highlight the life of Hammon (ca. 1711-1806) kicked off earlier this year. The nonprofit was notified of the designation last year, and an unveiling ceremony slated for May had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Saturday’s event, a $1,050 bronze plaque will be unveiled. The plaque was paid for by several organizations: Town of Huntington African American Historic Designation Council; NAACP Huntington Branch; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Sigma Psi Omega chapter; Jack and Jill of America Inc., Suffolk County chapter; and The Links Inc., Long Island chapter.
To register for the virtual event via Zoom visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jupiter-hammon-literary-landmark-virtual-celebration-tickets-91899358455
There is no registration needed to view the event live on Facebook:
Irene Moore, chairwoman of the Town of Huntington African American Historic Designation Council, said the group is elated to be part of the Jupiter Hammon Literary Landmark Celebration.
"The recognition he is getting for his extensive literary work is long overdue," Moore said. "We are proud of his accomplishments."