Coming Up: Black History at Jay – Feb 8

07 Feb, 2014

By Polly Kreisman

jay heritage center

from The Jay Heritage Center, which invites you to celebrate Black History Month with two exceptional speakers. Saturday Feb 8, 10-12pm.

Author Dr. Myra Young Armstead, Professor of History, Director of Africana Studies at Bard will talk about her book “Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America.” She will share insights from her research about the free black experience in 19th century New York as revealed in a handwritten diary kept for almost 4 decades by James F. Brown. Brown, a fugitive slave eventually purchased his own freedom with the help of the Verplanck family and found himself associated with one of America’s earliest landscape designers, AJ Downing.

Of great interest to historians studying the Jay family and their properties, Brown wrote in his diary in March 1832, one year after having been manumitted, that he had gone “to live with Peter A. Jay…” It is highly likely that he spent time at the Jay Estate in Rye, then called “The Locusts” and perhaps left an imprint of his own horticultural knowledge on its landscape.

Documentary Filmmaker David Pultz, has worked in the motion picture industry for over 35 years and will preview “The Bones Speak: The Spring Street Story.” His presentation focuses on an integrated antislavery church in lower Manhattan nearly destroyed in the infamous anti-abolitionist riots of 1834. Limning portraits of important historical figures of the period with ties to this church, including William Lloyd Garrison and the Tappan brothers, the talk will also detail modern day efforts of archaeologists to preserve a “time capsule” of the free African American experience. Remains found at the church site have undergone DNA and isotope testing under the direction of the Syracuse University Anthropology lab. Pultz will tell us what science can reveal about the living and working conditions of members of the Spring Street congregation.

 Co-sponsored by the Westchester Historical Society, the Clunie Branch of ASALH, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and the African American Men of Westchester. The program is free and open to the public. Reservations requested. For more information, contact Barbara Specht at the Jay Heritage Center at or call (914) 698-9275.

Jay Heritage Center 210 Boston Post Road Rye
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