SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — His obituary described him as one of the vital revered residents of the Hamptons.
However the essential legacy of former slave Pyrrhus Concer was misplaced within the final century. As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday, it took a scandal to ignite a group.
A historic residence overlooking Agawam Lake was demolished by a wealthy couple after they bought the property.
“Time has been misplaced and his story was sealed away,” Grier-Key mentioned.
CONTINUING COVERAGE: Black History Month
Concer was born indentured in 1814 and bought into slavery within the Hamptons.
“Most individuals don’t even assume there was slaves even within the North,” mentioned Brenda Simmons of the Southampton African American Museum. “This man was a former slave. He was bought at 5 years outdated, labored on a farm. He turned a whaler.”
Concer gained his freedom at age 18 after which ran a ferry service from village land to the ocean.
“He was beloved by this group. The grandfather to all of the group kids. He would take them on his ferry boat throughout to the seashore,” Grier-Key mentioned.
He additionally sailed to Japan. He’s believed to be the primary Black man to take action.
“The Japanese have been really attempting to rub his pores and skin as a result of that they had by no means seen an individual of coloration earlier than,” Simmons mentioned.
Concer ultimately returned to his beloved Southampton and have become a rich businessman and philanthropist.
“Our native Black historical past has been one thing that has been ignored,” mentioned state Assemblyman Fred Thiele, a Democrat who represents the East Finish.
And now, overdue honors have been bestowed upon Concer.
“Being the grant administrator tasked with this venture, I’ve taken it to my coronary heart professionally and personally,” Nicole Jean Christian mentioned.
The property was returned to the city and a grass roots motion helped salvage the house’s unique beams and framing.
The Architectural Assessment Board voted unanimously to designate the location a historic landmark. Now, village, city and personal donors are serving to fund the Pyrrhus Concer Home restoration.
“To have the ability to restore his pretty humble home right here in Southampton Village, one of many wealthiest locations on the planet. Numerous the wealth right here is outdated cash, actually was on the backs of exploitation and slavery,” Southampton City Supervisor Jay Schneiderman mentioned.
“After we rebuild his residence, his historical past and achievements can be at forefront of New York and the nation’s historical past,” added Mayor Jesse Warren.
Concer died 125 years in the past, however now there’s a new probability to pay homage to his legacy.
Throughout his lifetime, Concer started a widow and youngsters’s instructional fund by means of the First Presbyterian Church that also exists at this time in Southampton.