February 25 | 2:30pm | 207 Water Street | Free
Join the Seaport Museum for an enlightening afternoon with esteemed poet David Mills. Together, we will explore the profound themes of his award-winning book of poems, Boneyarn, which is the first book of poetry about the history of slavery in New York City.
During the program, Mills will read a selection of his poems and shed light on the African Burial Ground—the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans––which is located just blocks away from the Museum. Operating from 1712 to 1795, this burial ground is the resting place of 15,000 enslaved and free Blacks, along with some Native Americans and impoverished white people. Mills' groundbreaking work captures the stories of those who worked as cooks, childhood chimney sweeps, laborers on the docks near South Street Seaport, participants in the Revolutionary War, and individuals who maintained African traditions in burial practices.
Don't miss this unique event where Mills will creatively "excavate" the tragedies and triumphs of New York's enslaved and free Black community. Advanced registration is suggested for this free event but walkups will be accommodated as possible. A reception with complimentary beverages will follow. Boneyarn will be available for purchase at the event.
Enjoy More That the Museum Offers
Access to the Museum’s historical ships and introduction galleries is not included with this event. To see more that the Museum has to offer, ask Museum staff about our Saturday and Sunday, 11am–5pm, Pay What You Wish General Admission tickets when you check in.
Pay What You Wish General Admission tickets include access to all current exhibitions on view in the introduction gallery space at 12 Fulton Street and access to the 1885 tall ship Wavertree. Free timed tickets for a tour of the 1908 lightship Ambrose are available separately at no additional cost.
About the Speaker
David Mills holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and an MA from New York University. He’s published four collections: The Dream Detective, The Sudden Country, After Mistic (Massachusetts slavery poems) and the bestselling Boneyarn. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Brooklyn Rail, Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review Jubilat, Callaloo, Obsidian, The Common, Brooklyn Rail, Rattapallax, The Literary Review, The African-American Review and Fence. He has also received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Breadloaf, the Lannan Foundation, the Queens Council on the Arts, the Bronx Council on the Arts, Washington College and The American Antiquarian Society. He lived in Langston Hughes’ landmark Harlem home for three years (was a recipient of the Langston Hughes Society Award) and wrote the audio script for Macarthur-Genius-Award Winner Deborah Willis’ curated exhibition: Reflections in Black: 100 Years of Black Photography. The Juilliard School of Drama commissioned and produced a play by Mr. Mills. He has recorded his poetry on ESPN, RCA Records and has had poems displayed at the Venice Biennale and Germany’s Documenta art exhibition.
Ready for more?
Head over to our Programs and Events page to see what else is happening at the Museum. Sign up for an upcoming talk, learn more about visiting Wavertree, or explore our virtual offerings.