02/08/19 6:00am
02/08/2019 6:00 AM

Not long after the founding of Southold Town in the mid-1600s, and more than a century before the western end of the town broke off and became Riverhead, the institution of slavery was part of day-to-day farming life on the North Fork.  READ

02/06/15 10:00am
02/06/2015 10:00 AM
Suffolk County Historical Society's 'Black History Through the Eyes of Dolls' will be on display through March 7. (Courtesy photo)

Suffolk County Historical Society’s ‘Black History Through the Eyes of Dolls’ will be on display through March 7. (Courtesy photo)

Miniature versions of influential African-American figures like abolitionist Harriet Tubman and President Barack Obama are among the 200 dolls on view through March 7 at Suffolk County Historical Society’s latest exhibit, “Black History Through the Eyes of Dolls.” (more…)

02/11/14 10:27am
02/11/2014 10:27 AM
Storyteller and teaching artist Queen Nur in Greenport Friday. | Rachel Young

Storyteller and teaching artist Queen Nur in Greenport Friday. (Rachel Young photo)

“Everybody has their own rhythm and everybody has their own style — and that’s what makes America so beautiful.”

That’s what nationally renowned storyteller and teaching artist Queen Nur told students from Greenport and Oysterponds elementary schools Friday during a performance celebrating Black History Month.

(more…)

02/04/12 11:24am
02/04/2012 11:24 AM

COURTESY J. T. JOHNATHAN FAMILY | One of the old scenes of Bay Shore on display at the Historical Society in Riverhead.

Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead opened an exhibit of unusual family photographs last night in honor of Black History month.

The exhibit features the work of photographer James T. Johnathan (1887-1966), a pioneering African-American entrepreneur who documented the diverse hamlet of Bay Shore for more than a half a century.

James T. Johnathan

His work was brought to light by Susan Barbash in a film she produced, ‘The Bay  Shore Story … a Small Piece of the World,” in 2009. She said the movie was intended to capture the community, which she said was segregated although diverse.

Mr. Johnathan was a self-taught photographer and a Renaissance man. He was a barber, owner of a mom-and-pop restaurant, a musician and he led his family’s musical group called “Johnathan and His Rhythm Stars.”

James T. Johnathan

His six children performed at the 1939 World Fair and the Apollo Theater.

He moved to Bay Shore in 1916 from Harlem with his wife Lucy and lived there until his death in 1966. He was Bay Shore’s official photographer for the school district, and photographed weddings, portraits and civic events.

His grandson Kent Johnathan of Riverside, a high school teacher in Bay Shore, said he was thrilled with the exhibit. “I never thought it would come to here- from Bay Shore to Hempstead and now to Riverhead.’

The photographs on display are a sampling from 120 images in the Johnathan’s family’s private collection. They are on display at SCHS until February 29.

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01/29/12 8:00pm
01/29/2012 8:00 PM
Portrait of James T. Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN FAMILY COURTESY PHOTO | Portrait of James T. Johnathan.

The Suffolk County Historical Society will mark Black History Month with two special events in February.

Reproductions of original photographs by James T. Johnathan (1887-1966), a pioneering African-American entrepreneur who documented the diverse hamlet of Bay Shore for more than half a century, will be featured in an exhibit opening Friday, Feb. 3, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Mr. Johnathan, a self-taught photographer, moved to Bay Shore from Harlem in 1916 with his wife and children. Working out of his studio on Union Street (now Union Boulevard), he took portraits, documented the community’s everyday and special events and served as Bay Shore School District’s official photographer. The works in the exhibit represent a sampling of the 120 images in his family’s private collection.

The show will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., through Feb. 29.

Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes.

Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes, courtesy of the Lee Hayes private collection.

Tuskegee Airman Lee Hayes of East Hampton will be honored at an event Wednesday, Feb. 15. One of the country’s first African-American airmen, Mr. Hayes will give a first-hand account of his unique experiences as an Army Air Corps bombardier during World War II, and SCHS will present him with an honorary plaque. The program will run from 11 a.m. to noon, preceded by refreshments at 10:30.

The Suffolk County Historical Society is located at 300 West Main Street in Riverhead. For more information, call 727-2881.