Office of Borough President James P. Molinaro
Staten Island, New York
Sandy Ground Historical Museum
On the South Shore of Staten Island lies a little known but historically significant
community called Sandy Ground.
Founded in the early 19th century by freed black men from New York, Sandy Ground is the oldest community established by free slaves in North America. The freed slaves that first settled here formed a farming community, which grew as free black oyster fishermen from Maryland and Delaware settled the region as well. Sandy Ground also served as an important stop on the Underground Railroad.
Descendents of the original settlers still live on Sandy Ground, and the Sandy Ground
Historical Society runs a museum and library that examines the life and history of the
freed Blacks who settled in the area prior to the Civil War. The Sandy Ground Historical
Society maintains the largest documentary collection of African-American culture and
history on Staten Island and the museum also serves as an educational research facility
chartered by the state Department of Education.
The Society’s Museum and library are dedicated to researching, preserving and informing visitors about this historically important Staten Island Community. Letters, photographs, film, art, rare books, quilts and other archaeological artifacts are among the collection. The Museum also possesses a rare surviving can of Tettersalve, a beauty product manufactured by Harlem businesswoman Madame C. J. Walker, and a letter from W.E.B. DuBois.
The museum also sponsors arts-and-crafts sessions, a musical heritage series, a lecture
series presented in Island schools and churches, and a traveling lecture series to
institutions around the country The African-American quilt-making tradition is also
continued through quilting workshops.
Address: 1538 Woodrow Road
Phone number: 718-317-5796
Photo by Vinnie Amesse