The new Southampton African American Museum (SAAM) hosted a VIP reception and ribbon cutting to celebrate its historic opening.
After sixteen years of planning, the museum-turned hair salon has opened for a community cultural experience highlighting the incredible journeys of blacks on unexplored paths from Virginia and the Carolinas north to Southampton, NY.
Prior to the event, museum philanthropist, donor and volunteer fundraiser Jean Shafiroff donated $ 10,000 and raised an additional $ 20,000.
The funds Jean has helped raise represent over a third of their $ 85,000 budget to operate the museum on an annual basis.
During her speech at the inauguration, she encouraged people to open their wallets and hearts to help with the fundraising efforts they have graciously done.
Mr. Emanuel Seymore was one of the people involved in the famous “Great Migration,” the movement of 6 million African Americans out of the rural areas of the southern United States to cities in the Northeast, the Midwest and of the West between 1916 and 1970.
The formerly renovated Mr. Seymore’s Barbershop site on North Sea Road now houses the Southampton African American Museum.
The grand opening of the museum brought together philanthropists, politicians and artists for this historic occasion.
Notable attendees included: philanthropist Jean Shafiroff, SAAM Co-Founder and Executive Director Brenda Simmons, Randy Conquest, Board Chair Nancy Stevens-Smith, Treasurer Stephanie Hill, James Banks, Brenda Stuart-Luke, Stephen Luke, Brigette Fleming, Fred Thiele, Jason Richberg, Theresa Santoro, Jesse Warren, Jay Schneiderman, MP Rebecca Seawright, Jay Herschenson, Martin Shafiroff, Susan Taylor and Khephra Burns, artist Siamak Samii, Dede Gotthelf from the Southampton Inn and Peter Marino.
The ceremony began with a brief history of the museum and the space it occupies. The presentation began with SAAM Co-Founder and Executive Director Brenda Simmons.
Many officials spoke after Brenda expressed their support and importance to the museum.
Afterwards, Jean Shafiroff took the floor and asked those present to participate in the fundraising efforts.
Professor and author of the book Cutting Along the Color Line Black Barbers and Barber Shops in America, Quincy Mills, was the keynote speaker for the evening. The extraordinary flautist Dwayne Kerr provided the music.
Jean Shafiroff is a philanthropist, humanitarian, television host, writer and author of the book “Successful philanthropy: how to make a living from what you give”.
Jean is often referred to as the “first lady of philanthropy” by the press because of her generosity and extensive work as a volunteer fundraiser and leader in the philanthropic world.
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She sits on the board of directors of many charitable organizations and chairs over eight different charity galas each year.
Among the many causes she advocates for are those involved in women’s rights, the rights of underserved people, health care and animal welfare.
Jean sits on the boards of the American Humane, the Southampton Hospital Association, the NYC Mission Society, the French Heritage Society, the Couture Council of the Museum at FIT, Global Strays and the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board.
A Catholic, she served on the Jewish Board for 28 years and is now one of their honorary directors.
Additionally, Jean is an American Humane Ambassador and national spokesperson for the organization’s Covid-19 “Feed the Hungry” program, an initiative designed to provide food to 1,000,000 shelter animals.
Jean is the Ambassador for the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation and a major donor and volunteer fundraiser for their work.
She is an alumnus of the New York Women’s Foundation Board of Trustees who remains very active with the Foundation and women’s issues in general.
For his philanthropy, Jean has been honored on several occasions by groups such as Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, New York City Mission Society, Southampton Animal Shelter, Surgeons of Hope, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Pet Philanthropy Circle, Animal Zone International, Youth Counseling League, NYC International Film Festival Foundation, Jewish Board and Hadassah.
In December 2020, Dan’s Paper named her Philanthropist of the Year at the Long Island Power Women’s Awards.
Jean is the producer and host of the television show “A successful philanthropy” which airs six times a week via LTV Studios in East Hampton, NY, as well as New York on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN): Spectrum Channel 34 and 1995, Verizon / FiOS Channel 33 and RCN Channel 82.
The show will open in other markets in 2021.
On his TV show, Jean interviews an eclectic mix of leaders from the world of philanthropy as well as actors, artists, business and civic leaders, and even a candidate for the US presidential election. Tyler Paper report.
Photo credit: 1) Brenda Stuart-Luke, Brenda Simmons, Jean Shafir. 2) Susan Taylor, Khephra Burns. 3) Quincy Mills. 4) Jessie Warren and Jay Schneiderman. 5) Siamak Samii. 6) Jean Shafiroff and Rebecca A. Seawright. 7) Opening of the African-American Museum in Southampton. By Patrick McMullan