Preservation Long Island intern explores her experience learning about and researching Jupiter Hammon and Joseph Lloyd Manor’s history of enslavement.
My name is Lilly and I have been working as an intern at Preservation Long Island over the past several months. I decided to take a gap year after graduating high school last spring in order to narrow my academic interests, gain some work experience, and escape online classes. For the first part of my gap year I worked with an international organization and decided that I wanted to work locally for my next internship. When a high school advisor brought Preservation Long Island’s Jupiter Hammon Project to my attention, I was excited to learn more about the place where I grew up and explore my interest in history while getting a sense of what a history-related career could look like.
To familiarize myself with the Jupiter Hammon Project, I watched the three roundtable discussions presented on the topics of Long Island in the Black Atlantic World, The Voice of Jupiter Hammon, and Confronting Slavery at Joseph Lloyd Manor. We learned about slavery in school, but we mostly focused on the South. Although I knew slavery existed in the North, I was shocked to learn the extent to which Long Island benefited from it. The earliest economies of the North were reliant upon enslavement, universities were built by enslaved people, and yet, Southern slavery was all we talked about in school. I was amazed to learn that Jupiter Hammon, the first published African American poet, was an enslaved man who lived just a short car ride from my house.
One of my main focuses while working on the Jupiter Hammon Project was creating a Wikipedia page for Joseph Lloyd Manor, the house that Jupiter Hammon lived in and wrote his most famous literary works. In creating this page, I learned more about slavery in the North, the Lloyd family, Jupiter Hammon, and Long Island during the Revolutionary War. There is a lot of information about Joseph Lloyd Manor in various books and reports, but the Wikipedia page was created to concentrate that information in one place, making it easier for those who don’t know much about the house and its history to learn more. After reading and writing about the house, I was able to visit Joseph Lloyd Manor and see in person where Jupiter Hammon created his most well-known pieces of literature. I was amazed by the size of the house and the historical rooms recreated inside.
My other focus while working on the Jupiter Hammon Project was helping the Preservation Long Island team gather information about Jupiter Hammon’s family. In doing this research, I was able to read a lot of primary documents such as the Lloyd Family Papers and various church records. It was interesting to see how information was recorded in these papers and to think about what was not recorded and why. These documents were written from the point of view of the Lloyds and a lot of information about the people they enslaved was left out. This was a type of historical research I had not done before. I found it fascinating to be able to trace back information to primary sources and read about people who lived hundreds of years ago.
I have gained so much working with Preservation Long Island. Although my time was spent virtually, I was able to get to know members of the Preservation Long Island team, research a number of topics, and most importantly, learn about the history of Jupiter Hammon and the enslaved people of Lloyd Neck. I was always learning something new and working on something interesting which made the time fly by! I have valued my time in the history field and hope to learn more in the future.
By Lilly Brown, Intern, Preservation Long Island
Published May 4, 2021