Lefferts Opening Event: Pinkster Celebration

Prospect Park Alliance celebrates the 2024 season opening of our historic house museum with a celebration of Pinkster, a historic festival of African culture in New York, with Chief Baba Neil Clarke, the Pinkster Players and friends, including long-time Lefferts storyteller Tammy Hall. This family-friendly event features music, history, performances, storytelling, demonstrations, games and food.

This event is free and open to the public. Eventbrite RSVP is encouraged:

About Pinkster:

Africans enslaved in Brooklyn celebrated Pinkster for almost 200 years. Chief Baba Neil Clarke along with other cultural leaders revived this almost forgotten tradition as a way to commemorate the culture and history of Africans in New York. Pinkster is the Dutch word for Pentecost, a spring holiday celebrating the founding of the Christian church. This was the only time each year when Africans enslaved in New York were legally allowed to gather with their families, play music and dance in public, and trade goods. In doing so, enslaved Africans preserved their cultures and built new rituals. Over the years, they transformed Pinkster into a festival of African culture, one of the oldest in what became the United States. However, in 1811 New York began outlawing this important centuries-old holiday, forcing African New Yorkers to preserve its traditions in private. Revivals of Pinkster have been growing in popularity since the 1970s, Lefferts Historic House hosted its first Pinkster in 1990.

Chief Baba Neil Clarke is a master drummer and performer born and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant. He has toured the world performing with artists such as Randy Weston, Harry Belafonte, Dianne Reeves and Miriam Makeba. He is also a scholar who researches and teaches the history of percussion, and especially the role of the African drum in the Americas. He has been leading Pinkster celebrations for decades at Philipsburg Manor, Weeksville Heritage Center, and many other sites across the state.

Plus, the celebration continues with a Pinkster Celebration from 12-5 pm on Sunday June 2 at Weeksville Heritage Center! Free shuttle buses between the two museums from 12:30-5:30 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Additional funding for the Pinkster Celebration is provided by NYU Brooklyn.

Pinkster Celebration will happen rain or shine! In the event of extreme weather, please check prospectpark.org for updates.