Black History Moment: Sag Harbor of Long Island, NY

by Feb 20, 2021Blog0 comments

We started this year’s black history month theme with four definitions of the word, “family.”   Over the next several days, we’ll focus on this definition: “socially or emotionally connected together as a group of unrelated individuals with similar identifiable attributes, characteristics, affiliations, etc.”   This definition of family is what could be considered an intentional family, or a “family of choice.”
Under the context of this year’s black history month theme, an intentional family is formed to create (or re-create) a sense of kinship among its members to accomplish the following:
1) Establish a “safe space” for relief/protection from persecution, racial discrimination, marginalization
2) Cultivate, strengthen, or reinforce a sense of racial or ethnic pride, individually and collectively
3) Foster a culture of excellence centered around a shared racial/ethnic heritage

One example to illustrate this definition of family, is the highlight for today’s black history moment: Sag Harbor of Long Island, NY.

Sag Harbor of Long Island, NY – Key Highlights
* In the early and mid-20th century, African American individuals & families across the US often faced legalized, overt forms of racial discrimination that kept them out from public accommodations that included waterfront resorts, pools and beaches
* In response, African American individuals and families purchased vacant lots and homes in sections of Long Island that were separate from the white community at large
* Over time, locations like Long Island’s Sag Harbor, became a magnet for African American families seeking to enjoy waterfront/beachfront recreation without dealing with racial discrimination from white Americans
Sag Harbor of Long Island, NY – Significance
* Grew to become a close-knit community of African Americans that span across several generations
* Became one of the most enduring African American beachfront communities in the United States
* In 2019, Sag Harbor’s African American neighborhoods were added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Visit the websites below and/or conduct your own research to learn more about Sag Harbor of Long Island, NY:
Sag Harbor Video Documentary
New York Times article: “On Long Island, a Beachfront Haven for Black Families” (video included)
Avenue Magazine: “The Hamptons’ Long History as a Hub of Black Culture”
The East Hampton Star news article: “Sag Harbor’s African-American Neighborhoods Added to National Register”