So, this happened.
Last Saturday, on my way up to The Berkshires for a show, I made a pit stop at Philiipsburg Manor–an historic site located in Sleepy Hollow, NY. In the 1800’s, it was a complex operated by a family of Dutch merchants who owned 23 enslaved Africans. Similar to Colonial Williamsburg, they offer tours where you can learn the little-known story of enslavement in the colonial north. I visited on this particular day because it was Pinkster–(a Dutch-turned-African-American holiday celebrated mainly in the Hudson Valley), and having just heard about it for the first time that morning, I wanted to learn more.
Here are a few photos from my tour of the manor. Scroll thru them right quick, so we can get back to the lady in this video.
Y’all finished? Or are you done? Either way, let’s get back to the issue at hand: how did this white woman end up with this responsibility? Was Keisha on break and she thought, “I did take an African Dance class that one Saturday, and I saw the wedding scene in that Arsenio Hall movie about Africans like 2 times…I’ll fill in for you, Keisha!” I don’t have the words for what this is or how incongruous it felt or how the black woman dancer who was dancing before her was looking at her while she was dancing or for how the drummers were smirking at me while I was giving this white lady the big eyes… This is why the caged bird stopped singing; she had no more songs.
I love a good museum adventure, and learning about Pinkster was dope–especially because it was one of the very few times the enslaved were given time off. But this ish right here is why there should be a 15-20 minute limit for black people at historical sites having to do with slavery.
“But I didn’t even see the upstairs, yet. I’m gon’ get my full 14 dollars worth.”
“Ma’am, I think it’s best you head on out now, for your own peace of mind.”
Because at minute 21, some chit like this happens.