Recognizing Enslaved Africans

Billy and Jinny
From Painting by Robert F. Mott, circa 1814

We are a group of local residents who have become aware of our community’s foundational ties to the institution of slavery. Through research, education, and civic engagement, the Recognizing Enslaved Africans of Mamaroneck and Larchmont Memorial Project seeks to honor the history, humanity and contribution of enslaved men, women, and children who helped build our community.

Mamaroneck Town’s Foundational Ties to Slavery

There are no memorials to Susannah, Jack, Bet, Pheby, Danie, Hannibal, Banjo Billy, Ginny or the scores of other enslaved persons whose unpaid labor helped build our community. Yet we honor the slaveholders on streets signs: Richbell, Gedney, Griffen, Merritt, Munro and DeLancey.

A complete listing of Mamaroneck Town slaveholders and enslaved persons compiled by Professor Ned Benton of John Jay College, a Larchmont resident and a member of our group, includes 43 slaveholding families and at least 147 enslaved persons living in Mamaroneck between 1698 and 1817 (see Slaveholders and Slaves: The List).  Almost all the slaveholders have full names recorded in official documents during their lifetimes and, years later, their family names dot our streetscape. For the enslaved persons, there are neither full names nor tributes recorded in the past or appreciated now.

This is the condition our group hopes to rectify.

Other Westchester communities are already pursuing similar goals. For example, Yonkers is about to inaugurate its Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden. In Irvington, the Recognizing Enslaved Africans Committee will be installing a memorial outside of Village Hall. Our group is considering a similar memorial in our community that could serve as an educational catalyst and help our residents gain a more accurate and meaningful understanding of slavery in America.

Our Goals

Recognize the Enslaved Individuals: The aim of our group is to recognize for today and for the future that slavery existed here. We affirm that slavery was wrong and that the individuals so wronged matter to us today and into the future. 

Engage the Community in Creating a Memorial to Recognize the Enslaved People: Our goal is to develop a permanent, physical memorial in a prominent location, central to all of the Town of Mamaroneck, Village of Mamaroneck and Village of Larchmont. In developing designs for the memorial and raising funds for its implementation, we aim to engage members of our local civic, cultural, educational and faith groups, as well as members of the community at large.

Develop and Implement Plans for Educational Programs in Conjunction with the Memorial: To further the educational function of a memorial, and to ensure that its meaning is not lost in the future, we aim to develop ongoing, regular, related educational programs for students and the larger community.

Raise Funds for the Creation and Installation of a Permanent Memorial: We will be reaching out to organizations and individuals to raise the sums needed for a memorial and related educational programming.

Members of the Committee on Recognizing Enslaved Africans of Mamaroneck and Larchmont Memorial Project

The Judy Silberstein, former Publisher of the Larchmont Gazette
Ned Benton, Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Co-director of the New York Slavery Records Index
Keith Yizar, Resident
Jackie Lorieo, Sculptor
Lynne Crowley, Town of Mamaroneck Historian
Joanne Shaw, Mamaroneck Library Board Trustee
John Pritts, Village of Mamaroneck Historian, Co-president of Mamaroneck Historical Society
Gail Boyle, Co-president of Mamaroneck Historical Society
The Rev. Carol D. Gadsden, Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Sharon Latimer-Mosley, former Mamaroneck Resident
Phyllis Kaskel,