ECHS: In the News

FROM NEWSDAY: Georgette Grier-Key, a Long Island historian, poses at The Heritage House in Sag Harbor. She's holding the planned development street grid map created by Amaza Lee Meredith.

Photo Credit: Veronique Louis

HIDDEN FIGURES: THESE AFRICAN AMERICANS WITH TIES TO LONG ISLAND MADE HISTORY

Special to Newsday by Jim Merritt:
Below is an excerpt from an article published in Newsday January 31, 2019. You can read the complete article here.


Azurest’s founding was a sister act   

In the late 1940s, a unique Hamptons community was created by Brooklyn schoolteacher Maude Terry and her sister, Amaza Lee Meredith, an artist and college professor.

On a 20-acre Sag Harbor parcel near a cottage Terry had rented, the sisters conceived a subdivision named Azurest, a contraction of the words, “as you rest,” says Grier-Key, also executive director and curator of the Eastville Community Historical Society of Sag Harbor. With help from local residents, the sisters set up and managed the Azurest Syndicate, through which they brokered sales and financed mortgages for African-Americans. The sisters have streets named for them: Terry Drive and Meredith Avenue. 

Meredith, a self-trained architect who built a modernist dwelling that is now part of Virginia State University in Petersburg, designed at least two Azurest homes. The Meredith-designed Terry Cottage still stands in Azurest and is owned by Terry's descendants, Grier-Key says.  

More than 70 years after its founding, Azurest is still a place to rest away from the city heat, to enjoy clams on the half-shell and thrill to a patriotic Fourth of July parade, Grier-Key says.

“We wouldn’t have a historic African-American community in Sag Harbor without” sisters Maude Terry and Amaza Lee Meredith, says Grier-Key, who is seeking historic landmark status for the community.

Sag Harbor Partnership Completes Construction Of Fence At St. David A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery

by Jon Winkler, 27East, 2016

The final resting places of some of Sag Harbor’s historical figures recently got a security upgrade courtesy of the Sag Harbor Partnership and the Eastville Community Historical Society.

The St. David A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery on Eastville Avenue will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday at 10 a.m. to unveil a new, 4-foot-tall steel fence intended to protect the cemetery from damage by vandals.  
READ MORE

Black Memorabilia Exhibit Reflects Changing Times and Attitudes

by Annette Hinkle, Sag Harbor Express, 2016

Last month, Mattel announced a new line of Barbie dolls designed to reflect the various shapes and color of real women. Many people say it’s about time and among the new Barbie options are three figures — petite, curvy or tall — seven different skin tones, 22 eye colors and 14 face shapes.

This is certainly a far cry from what little girls had to choose from just a couple generations ago, particularly African American girls.  READ MORE

Photo: Annette Hinkle

Sag Harbor's Contribution to the Nation's Newest Museum

by Jennifer Landes, East Hampton Stor, 2016

When the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened to the public last weekend there were dedications and opening remarks President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, Oprah Winfrey, and others who were key to helping the 400,000-square-foot building and its 40,000-object collection come into being.  READ MORE

Lives revealed: Historic photographs tell the tale of Sag Harbor’s Eastville residents

by Annette Hinkle, Shelter Island Reporter, 2016

Back in the 1970s, Sag Harbor’s Greg Therriault was refinishing the floor of a small house he owned on Hampton Road called “The Ivy Cottage” when he discovered a series of small, metal rectangular objects nailed to the floorboards.

When he pulled up one of those objects, he saw an image on the other side and realized they were tintypes — photographs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries of people who once populated Eastville, the historically African-American neighborhood where he lived.  READ MORE

Eastville Community Historical Society's ‘Sculpted Images’

by Jennifer Landes, East Hampton Star, 2015

The Eastville Community Historical Society has put together a show pairing David Cosgrove’s carvings and drawings taken from historical headstones at South Fork cemeteries with photographs of New York City building decorations by Robert King. The resulting show is full of revelatory delights and well-crafted images and forms.  READ MORE

Photo: Jennifer Landes

Eastville Cemetery Historical Marker Dedicated

by Stephen J.Kotz, Sag Harbor Express, 2015

Members of the Eastville Community Historical Society gathered at the old St. David A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery on Eastville Avenue in Sag Harbor Saturday morning to unveil a new historic marker.

Obtained with a $1,095 grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the marker notes the  cemetery, which was established in 1857, was the final resting place of early settlers of African-American, Native Americans and those of European ancestry.

“Under the continued stewardship of the Eastville Community Historical Society, we are here to commemorate the final resting place of many of the early residents of Eastville,” said Michael Butler, the chairman of the society’s cemetery preservation committee.  READ MORE

Historical Society Sets Out To Uncover Sag Harbor's Involvement With The Underground Railroad

by Alyssa Melillo, Southampton Press, 2014

It was 1993 when JoAnn Bradley first moved into her 19th-century summer home on Liberty Street in Sag Harbor. One day, the Brooklyn Heights resident was carrying a computer that she intended to store in a closet underneath the staircase. But because the machine was heavy—or perhaps due to simple fate—Ms. Bradley dropped it.And the floorboards moved.  READ MORE

Kathleen Turner, left, and Joanne Carter of ECHS perusing a book on the Underground Railroad. Photo courtesy of Southampton Press

Historic Cemetery Celebrates a Summer of Outreach and Education

Archaeological Institute of America, 2013

It’s been a busy few months for the St. David AME Zion Cemetery in Sag Harbor, NY as the site’s caretakers, the Eastville Community Historical Society (ECHS), hosted a number of events to connect the local community with the rich history of this local gem. Here’s a look at some of their efforts to promote the site preservation of this rare cemetery:  

READ MORE

Eastville in Soul of America

Eastville Heritage House
DESCRIPTION: Formerly the Sears Roebuck Mail Order House, this 1-story home was purchased through a catalog in 1925 by Lippman Johnson, an African American worker, and his wife Rose, and their descendants lived in the home until the mid-1980's; later falling into disrepair, it was obtained by the Village of Sag Harbor in 1996 for use by the Eastville Community Historical Society.  
SEE WEBSITE