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South Street Seaport Museum Announces Free Poetry Event Poetry of Enslavement and the African Burial Ground

February 25 @ 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Join the Seaport Museum for an enlightening afternoon with esteemed poet David Mills on February 25, 2024, at 2:30pm, at 207 Water Street. Together, we will explore the profound themes of his award-winning book of poems, Boneyarn, which is the first book of poetry about the history of slavery in New York City.

During the program, Mills will read a selection of his poems and shed light on the African Burial Ground—the oldest and largest slave cemetery in the United States––which is located just blocks away from the Museum. Operating from 1712 to 1795, this burial ground is the resting place of 15,000 enslaved and free Blacks, along with some Native Americans and impoverished white people. Mills’ groundbreaking work captures the stories of those who worked as cooks, childhood chimney sweeps, laborers on the docks near South Street Seaport, participants in the Revolutionary War, and individuals who maintained African traditions in burial practices.

Don’t miss this unique event where Mills will creatively “excavate” the tragedies and triumphs of New York’s enslaved and free Black community. A reception with complimentary beverages will follow. Boneyarn will be available for purchase at the event.

Advanced registration is suggested for this free event but walkups will be accommodated as possible. seaportmuseum.org/boneyarn

About the Speaker
David Mills holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and an MA from New York University. He’s published four collections: The Dream Detective, The Sudden Country, After Mistic (Massachusetts slavery poems) and the bestselling Boneyarn. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Brooklyn Rail, Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review Jubilat, Callaloo, Obsidian, The Common, Brooklyn Rail, Rattapallax, The Literary Review, The African-American Review and Fence. He has also received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Breadloaf, the Lannan Foundation, the Queens Council on the Arts, the Bronx Council on the Arts, Washington College and The American Antiquarian Society. He lived in Langston Hughes’ landmark Harlem home for three years (was a recipient of the Langston Hughes Society Award) and wrote the audio script for Macarthur-Genius-Award Winner Deborah Willis’ curated exhibition: Reflections in Black: 100 Years of Black Photography. The Juilliard School of Drama commissioned and produced a play by Mr. Mills. He has recorded his poetry on ESPN, RCA Records and has had poems displayed at the Venice Biennale and Germany’s Documenta art exhibition.

About the South Street Seaport Museum
The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the historic seaport district in New York City, preserves and interprets the history of New York as a great port city. Founded in 1967, the Museum houses an extensive collection of works of art and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and education spaces, working 19th century print shops, and an active fleet of historic vessels that all work to tell the story of “Where New York Begins.” seaportmuseum.org

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February 25
2:30 PM - 5:00 PM


South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton St
New York, NY 10038 United States
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(212) 748-8600
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