Southampton, NY has long been home to the rich and famous, but few people know that this exclusive enclave is now addressing a piece of its own history. Pyrrhus Concer, a black landowner who was a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist, owned the homestead on an outgrown lot on Agawam Lake. There were many efforts over the past decade to demolish the home and in 2014 the home was torn down despite there being documentation that the home was protected under the town’s historical preservation ordinance. However, local activists have since been working tirelessly to reconstruct Mr. Concer’s house on its original lot. Let’s take a look at how they’ve been doing it.
Preserving Mr. Concer’s Home
Mr. Concer parents were enslaved Africans in South Hampton, born in 1814, Mr. Concer received his freedom at 28 years old. In 2018, the Town of Southampton announced that it was planning to use eminent domain to acquire the property and preserve Mr. Concer’s home as part of an effort to preserve Black history in the area. The plan proposed by local activists is to build a two-story replica of Mr. Concer’s 19th century home using original materials from his former residence as much as possible. This would include using existing foundations, chimneys, and other features taken from his former homestead when possible.
Building has begun on the project and despite being met with some challenges due to issues around architectural history and zoning requirements for building such structures in the area. No matter the setbacks, the community is determined to forage ahead with honoring the legacy of Mr. Concer and restoring the home of his ancestors for future historical purposes.
Community Support & Funding
Preserving Pyrrhus Concer’s homestead is an important step forward in recognizing our nation’s black history that should not be overlooked or ignored no matter where we live or work today—be it Southampton or any other city or town across America! The reconstruction project being undertaken by local activists with help from government officials and members of the community is commendable; however, more can always be done! We encourage everyone reading this blog post to join us in supporting this important effort so that future generations can learn about Pyrrhus Concur’s legacy and cherish it for years to come!
Jillian Hishaw, Esq., is a MacArthur Awardee, Agricultural Lawyer, Founder, and Director of F.A.R.M.S., an international non-profit and Hishaw Law L.L.C., a virtual law practice. Inspired by her own family’s land loss, F.A.R.M.S., provides technical and legal assistance to small farmers, while reducing hunger in the farmer’s community. Hishaw’s first book, “Don’t Bet the Farm on Medicaid,” examines how U.S. long-term care facilities can exercise their federal authority to place a lien on a resident’s property, if an outstanding debt, is owed.
Hishaw, has over 20 years of professional experience in the areas of civil rights, land protection, and agricultural policy. Her prior experience includes working at local, state and federal agencies on conservation and civil rights matters. In 2017, Hishaw was recognized as a Food Changemaker, by the Clif Bar Foundation and featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, The Atlantic, Vice News, Growers Co., (CAN), and among others. In 2019, the Food Tank organization voted Hishaw, 1 of 15 women in the World Impacting the Food Industry. Hishaw, has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tuskegee University, plus a Juris Doctorate and Legal Master’s in agricultural law, from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville law school.
Hishaw is the author of “Don’t Bet the Farm on Medicaid,” “US Farm Tax Credits for all 50 States,” “The History of 50 U.S. State Flags & their Historic Symbolism,” and “Systematic Land Theft” winner of the 2022 Independent Press Award, the 2022 National Indie Excellence Book Award, 2022 NYC Big Book Award and Finalist for the 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.