‘Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution’ - 27 East

Arts & Living

Arts & Living / 1777561

‘Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution’

icon 2 Photos
Author Claire Bellerjeau.

Author Claire Bellerjeau.

Author Claire Bellerjeau about her book “Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution” on Thursday, May 20.

Author Claire Bellerjeau about her book “Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution” on Thursday, May 20.

authorStaff Writer on May 10, 2021

The East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection will present a live Zoom discussion with author Claire Bellerjeau about her book “Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth,” on Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m. The book tells the story of Robert Townsend, a key member of the Culper Spy Ring, and his extraordinary efforts to rescue Elizabeth, an enslaved woman who had run away from his family and was re-enslaved. Documents from the Long Island Collection played a key role in telling this story.

In January 1785, a young African American woman named Elizabeth was put on board the Lucretia in New York Harbor, bound for Charleston, South Carolina, where she would be sold to her fifth master in just 22 years. Leaving behind a small child she had little hope of ever seeing again, Elizabeth was faced with the stark reality of being sold south to a life quite different from any she had known before. She had no idea that Robert Townsend, a son of the family she was enslaved by, would locate her, safeguard her child, and return her to New York — nor how her story would help turn one of America’s first spies into an abolitionist.

Robert Townsend is best known as one of George Washington’s most trusted spies, but few know about how he worked to end slavery. As Robert and Elizabeth’s story unfolds, prominent figures from history cross their path, including Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Benedict Arnold, John André and John Adams, as well as participants in the Boston Massacre, the Sons of Liberty, the Battle of Long Island, Franklin’s Paris negotiations, and the Benedict Arnold treason plot.

Claire Bellerjeau currently serves as historian and director of education at Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay, and she has been researching the Townsend family and their slaves for over 16 years, including curating a yearlong exhibit on the Townsend “Slave Bible” in 2005. She has spoken internationally and published several articles in scholarly journals about life and artifacts of colonial New York.

Her library talk is free, but advanced registration is required at Eventbrite.com. Visit easthamptonlibrary.org for details.

You May Also Like:

A ‘Hidden Child’: Erika Hecht Reflects On World War II In New Memoir

On the edge of Sag Harbor Village, Erika Hecht lives in a modest home surrounded ... 22 Jun 2021 by Michelle Trauring

New Project Space Features Ceramics By Rebecca Manson

Fairfax Dorn, principal of Fairfax Dorn Projects (FDP), is currently presenting “An Impulsive Forage,” an exhibition highlighting new work by artist Rebecca Manson in collaboration with Josh Lilley, London, at The Living Room, a project space in East Hampton. The show runs through July 4. It marks Manson’s first U.S. solo exhibition and features ceramic sculptures made in her studio outside New York City. As a master of clay, Manson captures the vulnerabilities of nature. The sculptures on view express the relationship between beauty and decay. She is a graduate of the ceramics department of the Rhode Island School of ... by Staff Writer

G.E. Smith’s ‘Portraits’ Welcomes Telecaster Master Jim Weider

On July 5, G.E. Smith launches his fifth series of “Portraits,” this year for Guild ... by Staff Writer

Market Art + Design Returns For 2021

Market Art + Design, the East End’s premier and longest-running art and design fair, has ... by Staff Writer

Jessica Ambrose Gets Sirius

In early May, SiriusXM Radio announced that “Lunch on the Deck,” a weekly program hosted ... by Staff Writer

Southampton Arts Center Hosts Outdoor Talk With Carl Safina

Conserving nature and tapping into human creativity may not immediately appear to be connected. But ... by Staff Writer

‘Fish & Men’ Screening And Panel At SAC

As part of its exhibition “EARTH: Artists as Activists,” On Thursday, July 8, at 7:30 ... by Staff Writer

Nelson H. White Retrospective

On Saturday, June 26, the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor opens a retrospective exhibition featuring ... by Staff Writer

Guild Hall Is Getting A Make-Over For Its 90th Birthday

Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton, has launched a $10 million capital campaign, in celebration of its 90th Anniversary (1931-2021), to bring the institution to the next level. As Guild Hall looks to the future, it has engaged the world’s most sought-after minds to match the physical footprint with the caliber of their artistry: Bran Ferren/Applied Minds, Peter Pennoyer Architects, Hollander Design | Landscape Architects, Ben Krupinski Builder, and Jon Maass and Pamela Torres as owner’s reps. At this point, Guild Hall has reached 50 percent of its goal thanks to the support of the Board ... by Staff Writer

A Trio Of Concerts Curated By Joel Ross For Duck Creek

The Arts Center at Duck Creek will present the first two concerts this weekend in ... by Staff Writer
logo

Welcome to our new website!

To see what’s new, click “Start the Tour” to take a tour.

We welcome your feedback. Please click the
“contact/advertise” link in the menu bar to email us.

Start the Tour
Landscape view not supported
Send this to a friend