Long Island's Hidden Past: Mary E. Bell House

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There is one house in Center Moriches still standing that tells the story of how emancipated slaves on Long Island went on to build their own communities and circles of support and faith.

News 12's Danielle Campbell and photojournalist Brian Endres explain the role Mary E. Bell.

 

A picture of the Mary E. Bell House, on Railroad Street in Center Moriches, was discovered in historic archives by Bert Seides of the Ketcham Inn Foundation.

The picture, taken during the turn of the century, footnotes a remarkable moment in time - it shows women of African-American descent, freed from slavery, making it on their own.

Listen to the Hidden Past companion podcast on the Mary E. Bell House:

Not only did Mary and her daughter Alice serve as role models, because of their faith, they became spiritual leaders in their community.

They helped raise money to get a church built just down the street from their home for the African-American community in Center Moriches.

And they did it by baking pies! Alice was well known for her sweet potato pies and the funds went to support the church.

Besides delicious pies, the mother and daughter served as religious leaders in the church which was named in their honor -- and to this day, the congregation still gathers to worship.

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