As Black History Month comes to a close, a free webinar will be held with a focus on the Southampton Village home of Pyrrhus Concer, a well-respected Long Island whaler and prominent African American community leader.
The Preservation League of New York State will host the free webinar, “Preserving Black Heritage on Long Island: The Pyrrhus Concer Action Committee (PCAC) as Case Study,” on February 28 at 4 p.m.
“Long Island faces a particular set of challenges when it comes to preserving historic sites, and the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead is a perfect example of this,” said Katy Peace, the director of communications at the Preservation League of New York State.
“But the work that has been done by the Pyrrhus Concer Action Committee over the last several years to properly recognize this important site and honor the legacy of Pyrrhus Concer is something that will resonate across the state,” she continued. “The importance of coalition building, working collaboratively and across disciplines, cannot be overstated. The League is excited to host the PCAC design team to help share their story.”
Concer was born into slavery and was freed as an adult, going on to have a long and storied career as a whaler and boatsteerer. “He was one of, if not the first African Americans to enter Japan. And thanks to well-kept records including whaling logs and documents related to his local philanthropy, Pyrrhus Concer’s life is one of the most complete histories of a formerly enslaved person in America,” the league said in a statement.
The Pond Lane property where the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead once stood — it was demolished in 2014 —was declared a historical landmark in January 2021. Preservationists have been working with historical and architectural elements of the home that were salvaged before demolition. They hope to reconstruct the home since Southampton Town purchased the property with $4.3 million of Community Preservation Fund revenues in 2015. A historical marker was placed at the site, honoring Concer’s life from enslaved beginnings to an impressive whaling legacy.
“The fight to save, landmark, and resurrect the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead is a story worth exploring, with lessons to be learned for any preservationist interested in issues of equity and justice,” it continues.
In the Zoom webinar, the PCAC design team will discuss “their journey to memorialize and reclaim the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead on Long Island,” according to the announcement. “The PCAC demonstrates how interdisciplinary coalition-building can support historic preservation efforts, centered around equity and social justice.”
This free webinar is part of the league’s Future of Preservation webinar series, sponsored by the Peggy N. & Roger G. Gerry Charitable Trust.