The African American Oysterman of Little Neck Bay

Yesterday, I spent some time reading Ellen Freudenheim’s Queens Guidebook and gathered information about places of historical interest in Douglaston, Queens, New York. When I turned to page 70, I came across this fact:

“The early history of Douglaston includes a short-lived colony of post-Civil War era African American oyster fishermen who made a living off the shores of Little Neck Bay until pollution killed off the oyster trade here. Some of their homes can still be seen in the landmark district.”

I grew up in Queens and not only did I did not learn about the local oyster fishing industry, I certainly did not learn about this African American fishing village in school. I have driven past Little Neck Bay hundreds of times and just saw it as a pretty place.

But like I always say, “Stories worth knowing about, and sharing are hiding in plain sight.”