Town Board Approves African American Museum

Crippen House Concept in color 3.4.21

The Huntington Town Board gave the go-ahead Tuesday to an African American Museum in Halesite.

Councilwoman Joan Cergol was primary sponsor of the resolution, with Councilmen Sal Ferro and Dr. Dave Bennardo signing on as co-sponsors.

Irene Moore, who chairs the African American Historic Designation Council  in Huntington, and Barry Lites, president of the Huntington African American Museum Board, spoke before the unanimous vote, as did several other residents. They cited the contributions of Black residents in Huntington, with Moore saying, “African American history is American history.” Others noted economic benefits, encouraging people to come to Huntington to visit the museum and shop and dine at local businesses. 

The museum would go on 1.5 acres of town-owned land on Mill Dam Road, near New York Avenue, on the site of the former Naval Reserve center. It is close to the original home of Peter Crippen, an early leader of the Black community in Huntington in the 19th Century. Saving elements of the Crippen home, which is now on Creek Road, is one of th goals of the museum.

Leaders also say the museum would honor the storiesof such diverse contributors as musician John Coltrane,  and the “Pickle King,” of Greenlawn, Samuel Ballton.

The designation of space will allow the museum board to begin fundraising.

“Thank you Sal Ferro Huntington Town Councilman and Dr. Dave Bennardo, Huntington Town Councilman for joining me as co-sponsors, and to all who came out last night to support this exciting endeavor,” Cergol said on Facebook.

“I’m just really thrilled this enabled the museum,” she added.

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