“Sometimes I’m right and I can be wrong
My own beliefs are in my song
The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then
Makes no difference what group I’m in.
I am everyday people,
Sylvester (Sly) Stewart
I always thought museums were created to display masterpieces of art, exotic wonders, the opulence of an aristocracy, or the treasures of a lost civilization. Some museums claim to enlighten and educate, preserve, or archive what is already extinct. But there are few museums that lift up the existence of everyday people in their everyday lives.
Think about it…
We may know about World War II through the history books, the monuments, or what the traditional institutions and museums exhibit, but rarely do we have information or institutions about the “Regular Folk” of the time. What goes on in a generation’s way of life, daily rituals, the everyday living that is taken for granted but is just as important. How precious are those stories, the details that show how a culture perseveres in crises, thrives in good times, lives.
The Southampton African American Museum is now one of our institutions on the East End that will lift up “us folk;” the beauty of everyday people! Those times we spent just being human in the past, and in the present – cherishing the daily “doings” that are easily forgotten, the events that were not mainstream and didn’t get recorded, the stories that are all of our history and this day and age.
What do I mean?
Do you know that the museum resides on the land of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, the original residents? What do you know and appreciate about the nation and history? The everyday people? You know of the annual Pow Wow or where to pick up some tax-free cigarettes… how about their sacred burial grounds? And what is being done to their land? Or when you drive through Southampton, where are the traditional African American neighborhoods? Businesses? Institutions? And how did Blacks get to the East End? Were they free? Were there plantations on the East End? And I bet you never thought a former Juke-joint, beauty and barbershop could be the depository of history? Well, let us make it so! And share those events, kitchen table stories, rituals that made Southampton our home. Let’s preserve history for the seventh generation. I don’t mind that “George Washington slept there,” but Pyrrhus Concer lived here!
So, if you live or lived in Southampton and the East End, where did you go to get ice cream? Who was the”Mayor” of Da Hill? On a hot summers day, where did you go to swim? Cool off? Flirt? What did 27 look like before it became a paved highway? What was Sunday dinner like? (Any recipes? I would love to know…)
The Everyday People Corner will be a monthly series highlighting individual residents of
Southampton and the East End, including historical events, personal anecdotes and those kitchen table, barbershop and beauty shop stories. If you know of someone with wonderful memories; if you have a memory, a story about the ’Hood (from Da Hill to Azurest,) or the adventures of growing up on the East End; whether you are 30 generations of the land, migrated here for a new life, or came in the summers…. Let’s praise our everyday lives and everyday people!
To Contact us; email me and leave your name and your email at: email@example.com Please put in the Subject line, EVERYDAY PEOPLE.
Looking forward to chatting with you!
Lora René Tucker
Lora René Tucker is an intern for SAAM; studying for her Masters in Creative Writing at Stony Brook/Southhampton University. Lora grew up coming out to Sag Harbor since 1973; now residing and caring for her mother. A semi-retired social worker, Lora practiced psychotherapy and is an advocate of racial and social justice. She has over 30 years teaching “Unlearning Stereotypes,” and was an adjunct professor at New York University School of Social Work. Nurtured by workshops like Louis Reyes Rivera’s writing workshop, Lora has been featured in NYC literary venues since 1992. She published her first book of poetry, Writes of Passage in 2010 and hosted the open mic for the National Writers Union in NYC. Lora currently volunteers at Southampton Hospital facilitating “Poetreat,” poetry therapy group, facilitated diversity/inclusion film/discussion groups for Sag Harbor’s John Jermaine library, and is the poetry editor for African Voices magazine. Lora’s writings has been featured in the Easthampton Star Guestwords, Brooklyn Poets, the New York Preservation League, and Brookhaven’s 2019 Black History Month celebration. She will be featured at Quail Hill Farm in August and on Write America pod cast on 10/31/2022.