Black History Month events at Suffolk County Historical Society

Portrait of James T. Johnathan.
JOHNATHAN FAMILY COURTESY PHOTO | Portrait of James T. Johnathan.

The Suffolk County Historical Society will mark Black History Month with two special events in February.

Reproductions of original photographs by James T. Johnathan (1887-1966), a pioneering African-American entrepreneur who documented the diverse hamlet of Bay Shore for more than half a century, will be featured in an exhibit opening Friday, Feb. 3, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Mr. Johnathan, a self-taught photographer, moved to Bay Shore from Harlem in 1916 with his wife and children. Working out of his studio on Union Street (now Union Boulevard), he took portraits, documented the community’s everyday and special events and served as Bay Shore School District’s official photographer. The works in the exhibit represent a sampling of the 120 images in his family’s private collection.

The show will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., through Feb. 29.

Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes.
Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes, courtesy of the Lee Hayes private collection.

Tuskegee Airman Lee Hayes of East Hampton will be honored at an event Wednesday, Feb. 15. One of the country’s first African-American airmen, Mr. Hayes will give a first-hand account of his unique experiences as an Army Air Corps bombardier during World War II, and SCHS will present him with an honorary plaque. The program will run from 11 a.m. to noon, preceded by refreshments at 10:30.

The Suffolk County Historical Society is located at 300 West Main Street in Riverhead. For more information, call 727-2881.