Though she was born at the close of the nineteenth century, her legacy operates as a precursor to rapidly expanding modern conversations about the necessity of rest.
Meredith is most known for her work at the historically Black college of Virginia State University (VSU), where she served as founding director of its art department. As a mixed-race woman born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1895, she was denied a formal education as an architect.1 Nevertheless, Meredith designed groundbreaking modernist homes, the most famous of which is Azurest South, the Virginia home she shared with her partner, Dr. Edna Meade Colson, for decades, until her death at age eighty-eight.2
But less known in Meredith’s legacy are her contributions to the formation of a unique section of Long Island—a strip of Black beach communities nestled between the bay and New York State Route 114 called Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest, and Ninevah Subdivisions (SANS). Meredith was instrumental in the development of Azurest, founded in the 1940s by her older sister Maude Terry, on the heels of the Harlem Renaissance.3 Prior to that, Sag Harbor’s Eastville had long been home to a mixed community of Black and Indigenous Shinnecock and Montauk whalers; freed, formerly enslaved people; and European settlers. It was there that Terry, a Brooklyn teacher, began to envision a neighboring twenty-acre stretch of empty land as a potential idyll for a Black middle class—a seasonal, utopic reprieve. Black buyers with the means to secure second homes had been iced out of most other areas by discriminatory realty practices, but since white home buyers had seen little potential in the marshy landscape, the little plot that would become Azurest took on even greater transformative potential.