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Sat, 02.23.1828

The Sandy Ground Community, (New York) is Founded

*The Sandy Ground community is celebrated on this date in 1828. 

Founded by free Blacks before the American Civil War, it is located in Staten Island, New York.  The first documented land purchase was by a Black man named Captain John Jackson on this date, just months after the abolition of slavery in New York. Sandy Ground was originally called Harrisville, soon being changed to Little Africa before receiving its current name of Sandy Ground for the infertility of the land. 

Sandy Ground also served as an important stop on the Underground Railroad and is one of the oldest continuously settled free Black communities in the United States.  After slavery in New York was abolished in 1827, freedmen settled in the area known since colonial times as Sandy Ground, which was located around the intersection of Bloomingdale and Woodrow Roads in Rossville.  

These early settlers were skilled in the oyster trade and brought this knowledge to Staten Island. MAAP (Mapping the African American Past) discusses the link between Maryland Oyster Workers in the 1800s and Sandy Ground.  Oyster harvesting on Staten Island was mainly conducted on the island's south shore. Prince's Bay was the main hub within walking distance from Sandy Ground.  

Oyster farming ended around 1916 due to water pollution in the harbor.  Sandy Ground African Methodist Church was founded around 1850. The Sandy Ground Historical Museum, located within the Sandy Ground, is dedicated to the oldest continuously inhabited free Black settlement in the United States.  The museum is home to the largest documentary collection of Staten Island's Black culture and history. It may also be home to the only intact 18th -century African cemetery in America.  Several of the community's historic structures are still extant, including five designated New York City landmarks, including a church, a cemetery, and three homes. Some residents also live in the original community. Rossville is among the oldest surviving communities in the United States,  

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