OSSINING, NY — Joyce Sharrock Cole was appointed to the position of Ossining Village Historian Tuesday afternoon in a small event at Duers Circle, the newly upgraded intersection on the west side of Ossining’s historic double arch.
She is the first African American to hold the position, the former historian, Dana White, has resigned and is running for a seat on the village Board of Trustees.
“Today was an AWESOME day,” Ossining resident Kemi Pogue tells with Black Westchester. “Shout out to our new Ossining Village Historian Joyce Sharrock Cole! The first African American in this role! Thank you Dana White for passing the torch! #MyFriends #MakingHistory.”
“With mixed emotions, I have accepted the resignation of our deeply
beloved and admired Village Historian Dana White, and with great pleasure I announce the appointment of Joyce Sharrock Cole as our new Village
Historian effective immediately,” said Mayor Victoria Gearity.
The position of Village Historian is appointed by the Mayor annually. Gearity appointed Dana White in January 2015, and has reappointed her annually since.
Sharrock Cole currently serves on the Village’s Historic Preservation Commission and is the first African-American to serve as Ossining’s Village Historian.
“It is an honor to be appointed in a position that allows me to share my
passion for research and sharing local history with my community,” Sharrock Cole said. “This position will afford me the opportunity to highlight the untold histories and contributions of the early minorities of Ossining, as well as capturing, documenting and preserving the same for residents who immigrated/migrated more recently.
“I look forward to collaborating with the community to capture and preserve our unique experiences while navigating through these unprecedented times and cultivating an environment of accessibility and openness to our historical records for review by our community and students.”
The small gathering took place at Duers Corner to highlight recent upgrades to improve pedestrian and driver safety, including two newly unveiled stop signs and ADA ramps at each crosswalk, and to tell the story of its name.
Henry Duers was born into slavery in North Carolina. He ran away and enlisted in the Union Army. As a Civil War veteran, he came to the Village of Sing Sing where, as Reverend Duers, he founded the Centennial Star of Bethlehem Colored Baptist Church.
In 1919 the New York State legislature passed a law requiring municipalities to appoint a municipal historian. These historians form a network of people charged with preserving the history of their communities. It is the largest and most extensive network in the country.
Black Westchester salutes Joyce Sharrock Cole for making history and congratulates her as the new Ossining Village Historian.