9. Spinney Hill and Roslyn, Nassau County

the former Frick estate in Roslyn, where some African Americans worked
The former Frick Estate in Roslyn, where some African American residents worked.

Nassau County was the site of a number of free Black communities, though records for most of them are sparse. After emancipation, many newly freed Blacks established communities across Long Island, including in modern-day Roslyn Heights, Glen Cove, and New Cassel. Roslyn’s African American history is quite well-documented, and it is believed that many free Blacks from the South moved to Roslyn to work on farms, take up skilled labor, and establish churches and community organizations. Some African Americans worked in the shipping and whaling industries as sailors.

One of the most successful free Black communities was established in Spinney Hill located near Lakeville African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Manhasset, founded by free Blacks in the 1820s. Spinney Hill is located just a few miles from Lake Success, where a little-known free Black community called Success was located, using the lake as a water source. It is named for Joseph Spinney, a wealthy merchant who built a church on two acres of land he purchased in 1872. Movement to the area picked up in the early 1900s, nearly a century after the church was founded, and many descendants of the original community worked at homes on the Gold Coast of the North Shore.