Emancipation Day Celebration

Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark

5304 Oxbow Road, Peterboro, NY 13134

Saturday,  August 5, 2023


° Rebecca Converse, Descendant of Capt. Aaron Bliss:  owner of the Freedom Sword

° Living History

° Wreath Ceremony

° Cemetery Tour

1:30 pm Amy Godine presents The Black Woods: Pursuing

Racial Justice on the Adirondack Frontier


2:30 pm John J. Hanrahan presents Traveling Freedom's

Road: A Guide to Exploring Our Civil Rights History


3:30 pm Norman K. Dann, will guide a tour of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark

www.gerritsmith.org           ‭(315) 308-1890‬           info@gerritsmith.org

The event commemorates the families that came from enslavement by replicating the Emancipation Days held by the generations of the 1920s and 1930s. James Corpin, John Smith, and Max Smith, co-chairs of the event, gather the descendants and public together at 10:30 am, as their ancestors did, for announcements, historical notes, group pictures, and song. This year Rebecca Howlett Converse will return with her Freedom Sword to tell the story of how Max Smith and she are related to the freedom sword from the Civil War.

The gathering is followed by a processional to the cemetery, by walking or driving, to lay wreaths. One wreath is laid upon a tombstone selected from the many labeled Born a slave. Died a free (wo)man and the second wreath is laid upon the humble gravestone of Gerrit Smith, the wealthiest land owner in New York State, an ardent abolitionist who believed his wealth was a divine gift to provide for those less fortunate.

 At 1:30 pm  Amy Godine will describe and sign her book, The Black Woods: Pursuing Racial Justice on the Adirondack Frontier

a central member of John Brown Lives, will return to Peterboro to introduce her new book and share updated information on her three decades of research and writing about Black Adirondack history. Research on Gerrit Smith’s gift of 120,000 acres of land to 3,000 black men will be presented on Gerrit Smith’s estate for the 13th Annual Peterboro Emancipation Day Saturday, August 5

At 2:30 John J. Hanrahan from Charlottesville VA will describe, and sign, his first book Traveling Freedom’s Road: A Guide to Our Civil Rights History, the proceeds of which he donates to two social justice organizations. Jack will explain his experience that led to the book which describes destinations and provides historical narratives of Civil Rights events and people – including lesser known persons. 

At 3:30 Norman K. Dann PhD will conduct a tour of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark. Dann is the author of Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform which has recently been revised and published. Norm will have books to sign.

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PO Box 6, Peterboro, NY 13134

‭(315) 308-1890‬