The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) will commemorate its 2016 abolition inductees October 21 & 22, 2017 at 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, in Peterboro NY, the site of the inaugural meeting of the New York State Antislavery Society in 1835. 2017 is the last year of the two year cycle that NAHOF has used since 2005: one year to induct and the second year to commemorate with the unveiling of the Hall of Fame banners for each inductee.
Saturday, October 21 at 8:30 am Norman K. Dann PhD will guide a tour at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (5304 Oxbow Road, Peterboro) with special attention to connections of Smith to the four Hall of Fame inductees. Dann is the researcher and author of Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform, a principal docent of the Estate, a founder of NAHOF, a member of the Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend, and Treasurer of the Peterboro Area Museum.
At 9:45 on Saturday, October 21, Jessica Harney will open the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum and guide guests through the exhibits of the Hall of Fame inductee banners, American Abolition from the Colonial Era to the Civil War, Women’s Transatlantic Antislavery Networking, the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and displays from the NYS exhibit The Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State and the Civil War. Harney is the primary steward of the Hall and the Museum, a member of the NAHOF Cabinet of Freedom, and a Social Studies teacher at Camden Central High School, Camden NY. The installation of the accessibility lift may be completed by this date.
The annual Abolition Symposia begin at 11:30 on Saturday, with announcements and introductions followed by a program on each of the four 2017 inductees to the Abolition Hall of Fame:
At noon, Alicestyne Turley PhD will present Rev. John Gregg Fee (1816-1901) who, with his church, founded the town of Berea and Berea Institute, which became Berea College in 1859. Berea was the first college in the South devoted to the co-education of men and women, blacks and whites. As an anti-slavery advocate, born into a slaveholding family below the Mason-Dixon Line, Fee promulgated his non-violent, anti-slavery views in a hostile environment with little support for protections from the law, family, friends or association at the height of America’s most violently aggressive proslavery and anti-slavery period. Rev. Fee is buried in Berea KY. Dr. Turley is the Director of the Berea College Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education. Turley and Berea College President Lyle Roelofs nominated Rev. Fee.
Milton C. Sernett PhD will provide an illustrated talk The Odd Couple: Beriah Green and Gerrit Smith at 1 pm for the Abolition Symposia. Green was a theologian, educator, and reformer, and a radical abolitionist at a time when the voices for freedom in America were few in number. Born in Connecticut, Green trained for the ministry but began working as an abolitionist educator and Biblical scholar, first at Western Reserve College in Hudson OH and, after 1833, as President of Oneida Institute, Whitesboro in Oneida County NY. Green transformed Oneida Institute into an abolitionist school. Green died in Whitesboro in 1874 and is buried in Grand View Cemetery in Whitesboro NY. Dr. Sernett is the author of Abolition’s Axe: Beriah Green, Oneida Institute and the Black Freedom Struggle, and nominated Green to the Hall of Fame. Sernett is a founding member of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF), and a member of the NAHOF Cabinet of Freedom.
At 2 pm, Louise Knight will present The Remarkable Transformation: Angelina Grimké’s Journey to Abolition for the symposium, addressing Grimké’s 2016 induction to the Hall of Fame. Grimké (1805-1879) was a white Southerner who became an advocate for the immediate end to slavery and for racial equality. Born to a wealthy, slave-owning family in Charleston SC she came to see the cruelties of slavery after embracing evangelical Christianity. At age 24 she moved to Philadelphia to escape the witness of slavery and to join a religious denomination that disowned slaveowners. In 1835 she became a member of the Philadelphia Female Antislavery Society, and the next year became the first female grassroots organizer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In her speeches she argued for the full social and political equality of African Americans and the end of slavery in the South. In 1838 Grimké married abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld who was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2009. Knight is an author and historian who is currently writing American Sisters: Sarah and Angelina Grimké and the First Fight for Human Rights.
Christopher L. Webber will present James W.C. Pennington: Pastor and Abolitionist at 3 pm. Pennington (1808-1870) was born in slavery in Maryland. At the age of 19, scared and illiterate, James escaped from slavery. Moving finally to Brooklyn he found work as a carriage man and took advantage of night schools. In 1829 Pennington participated in the first Negro National Convention in which he became the presiding officer in 1853. He was so respected by European audiences during his visits that the University of Heidelberg awarded him an honorary doctorate. Pennington was accepted as the first black student at the Yale Divinity School and was accepted for ordination in the Congregational Church. April 26, 2014 Yale University celebrated the opening of the James W.C. Pennington Christian Ministry Center. Christopher Webber, who nominated James W.C. Pennington, is the author of books ranging from a guidebook for Vestries to a study of Christian marriage, including a biography of Pennington American to the Backbone. Webber is a graduate of Princeton University and the General Theological Seminary in New York – with two earned degrees and an honorary doctorate from the latter.
The National Aboliton Hall of Fame and Museum will be hopen from 4 to 5 pm.
A 19th C. Antislavery Dinner will be held at 5 pm. The Deli on the Green in Peterboro will carry on the tradition of serving foods from a menu inspired by In the Kitchen, an 1875 cookbook written by Elizabeth Smith Miller of Peterboro. Miller was the daughter of Peterboro abolitionist Gerrit Smith, who was inducted into the Abolition Hall of Fame in 2005. The recipes have been reworked for modern day cooking. Seating is limited. Reservations by October 12, 2017.
At 7 pm, the commemoration ceremonies for the 2016 inductees to the Abolition Hall of Fame will begin. Banner sponsors for each of the 2016 inductees will introduce themselves, describe their relationship to the inductee, and together will unveil the banner that will be installed in the Hall of Fame. The inductee banner includes the Moshetti portrait, information on the birth, death, and legacy, and the names and relationships of all the sponsors. The evening includes 19th C. musical selections.
Jan DeAmicis and Mary Hayes Gordon, Co-Chairs of the Oneida County Freedom Trail, will meet visitors in Utica at 9 am on Sunday, October 22 for a driving and walking tour of abolition sites in Utica during Beriah Green’s life. The tour will include Green’s burial site and the site of the Oneida Institute, where Green served as President. At 10 am the new interpretive signage for the Oneida County Freedom Trail will be unveiled. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At 12:30 Sunday, October 22, eight libraries in Madison and Oneifa counties, and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum will host a luncheon culminating a month long CommUNITY Read of Sue Monk Kidd’s popular historical novel The Invention of Wings. Using an unusual format the book describes the early lives of slaves Charlotte and Hetty and of their owners Sarah and Angelina Grimké in Charleston SC, and the later abolition lives of the Grimkés, including visits to Peterboro. The Read was launched September 24th during the Peterboro Women’s History Weekend following a program on the abolition movement’s spawning of the women’s movement of which Angelina Grimké was a pivotal person. Betsy Kennedy, Director of the Cazenovia Public Library, will share information on Kidd and the meaning of the title of the book – with its connections to history. After the luncheon prepared by the Peterboro Deli on the Green with a menu inspired by the 19th century In the Kitchen cookbook written by Elizabeth Smith Millwe of Peterboro, Louis Knight will explain the facts and answer questions of the history used in Invention of Wings.
At 2 pm, Author Louise Knight will share her research for the preparation of her upcoming biography on the Grimké sisters. Knight presented the Angelina Grimké symposium program at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum 2016 induction and will present The Remarkable Transformation: Angelina Grimké’s Journey for Grimké’s 2017 symposium on Saturday.
This project is sponsored by a Humanities New York Action Grant. The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum is chartered by the New York State Eduction Department, on the Heritage NY Underground Railroad Trail, on the Path through History, on the I LOVE NY LBGT Trail, on the Madison County Freedom Trail, and a founder and primary of the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State.
Registrations for meals are due by October 12. Reservations for both days of the Abolition Weekend, including meals and programs, are $75. Reservations for Saturday, October 21, including meals and programs, are $50. Reservations for Sunday, October 22, including meals and programs, are $35. Admission to each program is $5 and may be paid at the door. For registration forms and for more information, click here, email NAHOFM1835@gmail.com, or call (315) 280-8828.
Photo of 2017 Emancipation Day, provided.