A Report From Peterboro Emancipation Day Gathering


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emancipation day 2017Families, friends, presenters, and supporters of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark gathered from across the state and country to participate in the 8th Annual Peterboro Emancipation Day August 5, 2017 in Peterboro NY.

The sun shone on the outdoor gathering in front of the barn whence carriages drove to carry fugitives to Oswego to cross by boat to Canada. Organizers Jim Corpin, Carrie Martin, and Max Smith, opened the morning session.

Rev. Jermain Wesley Loguen, enacted by Djed Snead of Rochester, spoke to the crowd of his life and escape from slavery, and his part in the Timbuctoo lands which were featured in a temporary exhibit within the barn. The annual procession to the Peterboro Cemetery to lay two wreaths, one at the grave of Gerrit Smith and one for the graves of persons born in slavery, was followed by a cemetery tour by Peterboro/Smithfield Town Historian Donna Burdick.

As afternoon programs turned to the topic of Gerrit Smith’s relationship with John Brown strong winds threatened the canopy cover. Members of the audience hastened to the side poles to hold the pipe and prevent the cover from taking flight. In a temporary slowing of the winds the audience moved the exhibits in the barn to make space for chairs, and continued the rest of the afternoon programs on Dreaming of Timbuctoo and Voting Rights: 1846~2017.

The 8th Annual Peterboro Emancipation Day is one of the events in the 2017 Peterboro Heritage theme Crusade for Social Reform. Future events include Ballots, Bloomers and Marmalade, a Women’s History Weekend September 22-24, Abolition Weekend October 20-22, and Watch Night December 31st .

These projects are 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. For more information, click here or call (315) 280-8828.

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