Intersection of Poet Jupiter Hammon & Long Island History

WWBA collaborates with community members to interpret Jupiter Hammon’s poetry in historical contexts. Hammon (1711-ca. 1806) is known as a founder of African-American literature. Born into slavery, Hammon published his first poem, “An Evening Thought. Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries,” at 50 years of age. He gained wide circulation and used his Christian biblical foundation to criticize the institution of slavery. Robert Hughes, Huntington Town Historian, discusses his book “Slavery in Huntington and its Abolition.”  Lauren Brincat, Curator of Preservation Long Island (PLI), discusses their major initiative to interpret Hammon’s life while enslaved at the Joseph Lloyd Manor house in Lloyd Harbor. Poet David Mills discusses Jupiter Hammon, the man and the poet, and reads his own poetry.

Mr. Mills holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and NYU. He’s published four collections: Boneyarn, The Dream Detective, The Sudden Country and After Mistic. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Brooklyn Rail, Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, Jubilat, Callaloo, The Common, Worcester Review, Brooklyn Rail, Rattapallax and Fence. He has received fellowships from NYFA, Breadloaf, the Poetry Society of Virginia Book Award, a Flushing Town Hall Grant, a Schomburg Library Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship, the Lannan Foundation, the Queens Council on the Arts, the Bronx Council on the Arts, Washington College and The American Antiquarian Society. He lived in Langston Hughes’ landmark home and was a recipient of the Langston Hughes Society Award. He wrote the audio script for the Whitney Museum exhibition: Reflections in Black:100 Years of Black Photography. The Juilliard School of Drama commissioned his play The Serpent and the Dove. He has recorded his poetry on ESPN and RCA Records and had a poem displayed at the Venice Biennale.

Robert C. Hughes is the Huntington Town Historian.  Prior to his appointment as Town Historian in January 2002, he served as acting executive director of the Huntington Historical Society and was a member of the Huntington Historic Preservation Commission. Mr. Hughes was a member of the Huntington Historical Society Board of Trustees for six and half years, including three years as president. As Town Historian, Mr. Hughes serves as secretary to the Huntington Historic Preservation Commission and the African American Historic Designation Council.  He works with all the heritage organizations in Town to assist them in achieving their missions of preserving and sharing Huntington’s history.  He also serves on the Preservation Committee for the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities. He is the author of Cold Spring Harbor, and co-author of Northport, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. He has also written numerous articles about various aspects of Huntington’s history which can be found at  In 2003, when Huntington celebrated the 350th anniversary of its founding, Mr. Hughes produced a video history of the town.

Lauren Brincat is the curator of Preservation Long Island, a regional organization with a mission to celebrate and preserve Long Island’s diverse cultural and architectural heritage through advocacy, education, and stewardship of historic sites and collections. Lauren has worked in New York museums and historical societies for over a decade, specializing in exhibition and program development, curation, and collections management. She is currently the vice president of the Long Island Museum Association and a member of the museum advisory committee of the Bowne House Historical Society in Flushing, Queens. She previously held positions at the New-York Historical Society and the Museum of the City of New York. Lauren’s current curatorial work emphasizes community and institutional collaboration across the region with initiatives such as the Jupiter Hammon Project and the Art of Edward Lange Project. Lauren is a graduate of the Attingham Summer School and holds a B.A. in History and Anthropology from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture with a certificate in Museum.

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Sponsored by HNY SHARP Action Grant and Poets & Writers

This event is part of WWBA’s series Intersections: African American Voices of Democracy. Read more about this series here: