“Wait, is his name Charles or is the name of the king King Charles?” someone asked me after reading a draft of Well of Souls. In Albany, New York, the most well-remembered King of the African American Pinkster celebration was Charles, but Albany wasn’t the only place that had Pinkster celebrations and Charles wasn’t the only king.
In Antiquities of Long Island from 1874, Gabriel Furman writes that although at first Pinkster, “the day of Pentecost,” was celebrated by Black and white New Yorkers, it “eventually became entirely left to the former,” and was never as popular on Long Island as it was in Albany. On the hill where “the Capitol now strands,” booths were set up and Black people came from near and far to celebrate. The dance as he remembers it was called the “Toto dance,” which was danced to “a hollow log, with a skin of parchment stretched over one end, the other being left open, on which they beat with a stick, making a rough, discordant sound,” a drum Furman calls the “banjo drum.” 
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.