Plain Site Project Lecture Series - 27 East

Arts & Living

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Plain Site Project Lecture Series

authorStaff Writer on Jul 27, 2020

The Arts Center at Duck Creek is pleased to announce the Plain Sight Lecture Series consisting of three talks throughout the month of August, presented by David Rattray and Donnamarie Barnes of the Plain Sight Project.

These lectures will be held outdoors and are free, but seating is limited and reservations are required at In compliance with NY State Covid restrictions, all guests on the property must practice social distancing at all times.

Along with many northern communities, East Hampton is disconnected from its slave-owning past. By compiling a comprehensive, public list of enslaved persons from the Colonial period to the last recorded enslaved person in East Hampton in 1830, the Plain Sight Project is reconciling with this forgotten history while taking a step to place these people and their stories back into our nation's founding narrative with outreach to public and private schools.

On Saturday, August 1, at 5 p.m. Barnes and David Rattray will give an overview of the project in an hour-long talk about the history of slavery in Colonial North America. They will share their research data and individual stories of enslaved people on the East End in the mid-17th century. They will also reveal their personal relationships to the subject of enslaved people in the area and how their combined archives became a catalyst for the Plain Sight Project.

On Saturday, August 15, at 5 p.m., Barnes and Rattray will be joined by author Jeffrey Colvin to discuss how his recent novel “Africaville,” which tells the story of three generations of a family in a small Nova Scotia town settled in the 1800s by the freed slaves from the Caribbean and United States. They will relate to the stories in his book to those of enslaved people on the East End and share their thoughts on how both his “Out of the Loop” installation at Duck Creek and their Plain Sight Project seek to support our “national will to do better.” Colvin’s “Out of the Loop” installation on the grounds at Duck Creek will be on view Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. This talk and Colvin’s installation at Duck Creek are part of “Present Tense: Black Lives Matter(ed),” a series of programs surrounding Colvin’s book, including a staged reading at Guild Hall in East Hampton and a panel discussion at The Church in Sag Harbor. Free copies of Africaville will be given to the first 15 people to reseve for this lecture. Books can be collected at the lecture.

On Saturday, August 29, at 5 p.m., Barnes and Rattray discuss the end of slavery in the North, and their goal to make the Plain Sight Project a template for groups and individuals in the Upper Mid-Atlantic, New York State and New England regions who want to develop their own archives of enslaved persons. the future of the Plain Sight Project.

They hope this project will create a granular national database that can used to understand the relative presence and location of enslaved persons in the region through time, and that the names of the enslaved will be honored and their stories inserted back into our shared history.

Donnamarie Barnes, chair of the Plain Site Project, is the curator and archivist of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on Shelter Island. She has spent over 30 years working in the editorial photography field as a photographer and photo editor for publications such as People and Essence Magazines and as an editor at the Gamma Liaison photo agency. A life-long summer and full-time resident of the SANS Community in Sag Harbor, she curated a highly-acclaimed historic tintype photography exhibition in 2015 at the Eastville Community Historical Society entitled, " Collective Identity

David Rattray, founder of the Plain Sight Project, is the editor of the East Hampton Star. He is the fifth member of the Rattray family over three generations to have held the post.

The Arts Center at Duck Creek is at 127 Squaw Road in East Hampton. For details, visit

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