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Exhibit highlights Huntington Town's black history

Bethel AME Church/Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church stands

Bethel AME Church/Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church stands in the center of Laurel Hill, a section of Setauket is one of the oldest African-American communities on Long Island. (Jan. 20, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney

An exhibit highlighting Huntington’s African-American community opens Wednesday in celebration of Black History Month.

The town’s African American Historic Designation Council has gathered items for display at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, 109 Browns Rd. through Wednesday, Feb. 29.

“We look forward to presenting this exhibit so as many people as possible can experience the rich offering of African-Americans, not only to Huntington but to the country and society in general,” said council chair Irene Moore.

The exhibit will feature photos and narratives of The Coltrane Home in Dix Hills, The Booker T. Washington House in Fort Salonga, longtime local churches Bethel African Methodist Episcopal and Evergreen Missionary Baptist, and two of the houses built by the Pickle King of Greenlawn, Samuel Ballton, and his wife, Rebecca, including the home in which they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Moore said the current exhibit will eventually become part of a traveling show throughout the town. She said she hopes people who come to the exhibit are inspired to tell their stories to the council.

“There’s a lot of history out there we don’t know about,” Moore said. “Our mission is to discover, research and recognize as many stories as possible and we need the public to help us with that,” Moore said.

The exhibit will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

An opening reception sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington will be this Sunday from noon to 2:30 p.m. All are welcome.

Photo: Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Jan. 20, 2012)

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