Today, we’re talking about Pyrrhus Concer, a prominent figure from Southampton. Concer was born in 1814 as an indentured servant then sold into slavery when he was five years old. He worked as a farm hand once he gained his freedom at the age of 26 then became a whaler on the ship Manhattan. One of the most famous stories involving Concer happened in 1845 when he and his crew rescued several Japanese sailors stranded at sea and brought them back to Japan. This made Concer one of the first Americans to ever visit Japan when it was still closed off to outsiders!
Concer’s legacy followed him back on land as he was able to become a landowner in 1891 and donated funds to the American Seaman’s Friend Society. While his home in Southampton was unfortunately destroyed due to zoning laws, he continues to be remembered by the community today. In 2015, the Pyrrhus Concer Action Committee (PCAC) was successfully able to rename the street his home sat on from Pond Lane to Concer’s Way. You can also visit his grave in Southampton where a memorial has been set up in his memory.
Concer’s life and impact is important not only to our marine community but to the African American community as well. He was a pioneer in many ways, and his legacy continues to be celebrated by Suffolk County today and every day.
For more information about Concer, visit https://saamuseum.org/pyrrhus-concer/
Last updated February 8, 2022