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Peterboro, New York
Emancipation Weekend 2017
Historic Peterboro, New York

8th Annual Peterboro Emancipation Day

Land Gifts for Voting Rights

 

In 1846 abolitionist Gerrit Smith recruited thirteen men to find 3,000 free black men to receive 40 acres of land each, in order to enfranchise them in New York State. Rev. Henry Highland Garnet from Troy mobilized the most grantees. Dr. James McCune Smith and Charles B. Ray found more than 1,000 African-American males from New York City to acquire land from Smith. Rev. Jermain Wesley Loguen was an active abolitionist in Syracuse, and as Smith’s agent he encouraged men from the Central New York region to make the trek northward. After Rev. Loguen toured the settlements he published his account in Frederick Douglass’ The North Star which recognized the worth of the land Smith was granting.  

 

On August 5th the 8th Annual Peterboro Emancipation Day at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (GSENHL) will address this land grant project which became known as “Timbuctoo.” This  last day of the exhibit Dreaming of Timbuctoo will open at 9:00 am. The exhibit includes Smith’s deed book of 119 pages listing, by county, the people who received land gifts.

 

Following morning programs and a processional to the cemetery for a tour of slave graves, at 2:00 pm Norman K. Dann PhD will explain the situation in NYS in 1846 that prompted Smith’s generous land gifts, remark on the progression of voting rights 1846 - 2017, and use Smith’s practical dreaming for discussion on the meaning of philanthropy. Dann, professor emeritus Morrisville State College, and the author of Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform, is the senior docent at the GSENHL, a founder of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, and a member of the Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend.

 

At 3:00 Amy Godine, the researcher and curator of the Dreaming of Timbuctoo exhibit, will describe the land, the grantees, and the agents. Gerrit Smith had the resources to enfranchise thousands of black males, but this experiment would never have begun or continued without the persistent aid of the agents. Garnet, Loguen, Smith, and Ray were among thirteen abolitionists who agreed with Smith’s plans and helped find eligible grantees to venture to the Adirondack region. (Rev. Loguen, one of the thirteen agents, will be portrayed by historical actor Djed Snead during the morning ceremonies.) Godine was a founding member of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF), and is a member of the John Brown Lives board.

 

At 4:00 a panel will join Dr. Dann to review the struggles for voting rights from 1846 to 2017. The panel will include Norm Dann, Jan DeAmicis (retired from Utica College, Co-chair of the Oneida County Freedom Trail, and a member of the NAHOF Cabinet of Freedom), Ann Jones (Deputy Commissioner at Madison County Board of Elections, and a former Gerrit Smith Estate docent), and Sheri Dozier Owens (Central NY Regional Director Intergovernmental and Community Affairs, Office of the NYS Comptroller).

 

The Deli on the Green will be open from 8 am to 7 pm with the ice cream window open until 9 pm. Reservations for regular menu and for weekend specials are suggested at 315-684-3131.

 

This project is made possible, in part, with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts, and sponsored by a Humanities New York Action Grant.

 

The public is encouraged to join any part or all of Emancipation Day. Admission is $5, free for students, and includes the Dreaming of Timbuctoo, Heaven and Peterboro, and Equal Rights Right Here summer campaign by I LOVE NY exhibits. Emancipation Day is a program of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (GSENHL), 5324 Oxbow Road, PO 6, Peterboro, NY 13134. The GSENHL is a site on the National Park Service Network to Freedom (the national Underground Railroad trail), a Partner of the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State, a site on the I LOVE NY LBGT Trail, and a site on the Madison County Freedom Trail. For more information www.PeterboroNY.org, info@gerritsmith.org, and 315-280-8828.Descendants of fugitives who found refuge in Peterboro in the 19th Century have finalized plans for the 8th Annual Peterboro Emancipation Day on Saturday, August 5, 2017. The public is encouraged to join all or parts of the day:

 

 

9 am Exhibits Open:

·       Dreaming of Timbuctoo: Last day of exhibit from John Brown Livesproject detailing Gerrit Smith’s 40-acre land grants to 3,000 African-American men to assure voting rights.

·       Equal Rights: Right Here: I LOVE NY’s Summer Equality Campaign  A picture frame to show equality support

·       Heaven and Peterboro: Interior and exterior exhibits of African-Americans in 19th C. Peterboro, Underground Railroad, and Smith’s Philanthropy

·       Peterboro Mercantile: Community Heritage Shop will have National Park Service Passports available with the Network to Freedom passport stamp.

9:30 Registration

§  Morning assembly, announcements, group photo replicating 20th C. Emancipation Day

Co-Chairs Jim Corpin, Carrie Martin, and Max Smith will update on year’s activities and detail plans for the day.

§  Homily by Rev. Jermain Wesley Loguen (1813-1872) delivered by actor historian Djed Snead. Loguen was the minister of AME churches in Central NY

§  Procession to Peterboro Cemetery to lay wreaths created by Carrie Martin at the grave of a freedom seeker & Smith.

Participants can walk or drive behind the wreath carriers.

§  Tour of Graves of Freedom Seekers Guided by Donna Burdick, Town of Smithfield Historian.

Burdick will lead the group to the gravestones of African-Americans and share their histories.

 

·       1:00 National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum Exhibits: Banners of Inductees, Chronology of American Abolition from Colonial Period to Civil War, Women’s Transatlantic Andi-Slavery Networks, Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, displays from the NYS Museum exhibit The Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War (2014).

 

·       2:00 Norman K. Dann PhD. Gerrit Smith: Practical Dreamer. Dr. Dann will explain the situation in NYS in 1846 that prompted Smith’s generous land gifts, remark on the progression of voting rights 1846 - 2017, and use Smith’s practical dreaming for discussion on the meaning of philanthropy

 

·       3:00 Amy Godine: Dreaming of Timbuctoo. Curator of the Timbuctoo exhibit, Godine will explain her research, illuminate on the exhibit’s name, describe the agents and the grantees, show Smith’s deed book, and discuss how the land project fared.

 

·       4:00 Panel on Voting Rights 1846-2017 The panel will deliberate progress since Smith’s 1846 land gifts to 2017 the NYS Centennial of Women’s Suffrage.

 

The Deli on the Green will be open from 8 am to 7 pm with the ice cream window open until 9 pm. Reservations for regular menu and weekend specials are suggested at 315-684-3131.

 

This project is made possible, in part, with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts, and sponsored by a Humanities New York Action Grant.

 

The public is encouraged to join for all or part of Emancipation Day. Admission is $5, free for students. Emancipation Day is a program of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (GSENHL), 5324 Oxbow Road, PO 6, Peterboro NY 13134. The GSENHL is a site on the National Park Service Network to Freedom (the national Underground Railroad trail), a Partner of the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State, a site on the I LOVE NY LBGT Trail, and a site on the Madison County Freedom Trail. For more information www.PeterboroNY.org, info@gerritsmith.org, and 315-280-8828

 

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