Preserving African American heritage in the Hamptons
Sag Harbor is located in the towns of Southampton and East Hampton near the eastern end of the south fork of Long Island, New York. Today “the Hamptons” are known for their famous and wealthy summer residents that include many of America’s 1% power players, but wealthy New Yorkers have been “summering” in the Hamptons since the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. Up until World War II, the majority of both the permanent and summer residents of the Hamptons were white, but after World War II Sag Harbor Hills and other neighborhoods or districts were made available to African Americans when most areas were still segregated.
Today, real estate prices are threatening to make these historically black neighborhoods out of reach from the types of middle class families that have resided there for years. For example, the childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who spent many of her childhood summers at her family’s home in East Hampton just went on the market for $52 million. The price pressures are pushing some buyers to look at areas such as Sag Harbor Hills. As in many cities where gentrification has resulted in dramatic ethnic and racial changes in neighborhood demographics, so too are historically black resorts facing the loss of their African American heritage.
By Troy McMullen
The Washington Post
July 27, 2017