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Annual Black History Month Celebration To Focus On "Narratives In The Making: Unearthing The Stories Within Us"

Nicole Barylski

Cobblestone drive unearthed during archaeological digs at Sylvester Manor. (Courtesy Photo)

Sylvester Manor will once again team up with Eastville Community Historical Society to host the 6th Annual Black History Month Celebration. On Sunday, February 23, the program, Narratives in the Making: Unearthing the Stories Within Us, will focus on the documentation of a historic story, and how social sciences, humanities, archaeology, and oral history play into recording the account.

"The Eastville Community Historical Society and Sylvester Manor Educational Farm have partnered over the past six years to present events honoring February Black History Month," Donnamarie Barnes, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm Curator/Archivist, explained. "This year we are continuing the conversations of uncovering stories from the past of the Enslaved People of the East End of Long Island."

The event, which will be held at Bay Street in Sag Harbor, will feature guest speakers Cordell Reaves and Dr. Christopher Matthews.

"Our two presenters, Cordell Reaves and Dr. Christopher Matthews are prominent figures in the field and their work and methods of archaeology and presentation are leading the way in revealing the past," Barnes shared.

Reeves, a museum professional (educator, interpreter, and project manager), has spearheaded the coordination of exhibitions, planning and executing programs, establishing community outreach initiatives, and growing cultural heritage tourism at museums and historic sites. With each project, her work has helped ensure that a comprehensive and accurate history is available to the public.

Dr. Matthews, a historical archaeologist and professor of anthropology at Montclair State, earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University. His work has revolved around the archaeology of capitalism and race in the United States, as well as the practice of community-based research. More specifically, his work is focused on sites associated with slavery and freedom. Dr. Matthews has led field projects in Maryland, Louisiana, New York, and New Jersey. Additionally, he has penned two books, An Archaeology of History and Tradition and The Archaeology of American Capitalism, and is the co-editor of Ethnographic Archaeologies: Reflections on Stakeholders and Archaeological Practice. Dr. Matthews' findings have also appeared in journals such as Historical Archaeology, Journal of Social Archaeology, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, and Archaeologies.

"Sylvester Manor and the Eastville Community are linked through history and it is important to the work we both do to uncover and preserve the stories of those who have been forgotten and to share the histories of those who were a major part of our communities," Barnes added.

The 6th Annual Black History Month Celebration will begin at 2 p.m. with the discussion and presentation. A reception will follow at 3:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

The mission of Shelter Island's Sylvester Manor, which was once a Native American hunting and fishing ground, is to "preserve, cultivate and share historic Sylvester Manor to ensure that food and art remain connected to community and the land." The mission of Sag Harbor's Eastville Community Historical Society is to "preserve historic buildings and research, collect and disseminate information about the history of the Eastville area of Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York, County of Suffolk, State of New York, and one of the earliest known working class communities composed of African Americans, Native Americans and European immigrants."

Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-749-0626 or visit www.sylvestermanor.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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