The Tenth Annual Peterboro Emancipation Days have been set for August 3rd, at 9:30 am, at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark, 5304 Oxbow Road in Peterboro.
Interior and exterior exhibits will be open including information on black freedom seekers who passed through Peterboro on their way to Canada, who stayed in Peterboro for lifetimes, who lived in Peterboro while working in the abolition movement, who served in the Civil War, and who came for an education at the Manual Labor School. There are also exhibits on the Underground Railroad, Gerrit Smith, and Greene Smith.
At 10 am the group will assemble for announcements, updates, and song, followed by the processional to the Peterboro Cemetery to lay a wreath at a gravestone which reads Born a slave. Died a free (wo)man, and one also at the humble grave of the wealthy abolitionist Gerrit Smith. After a break for folks to get lunch at the Deli on the Green, or enjoy lunches from home on a blanket on the green, or on tables at the Estate.
Attendees will reconvene for The Three Harriets at 1:15 pm. Confusion through the years about three African American women associated with the Gerrit Smith Estate will, hopefully, be dispelled by programs on each of the three during the afternoon: At 1:15 pm JJ Citron, Colgate Upstate Fellow, and Norman K. Dann PhD will present The Escape of Harriet Powel, the woman of the Kyle Bass play Possessing Harriet which is currently playing at the Franklin Stage Theatre. At 2:15 pm Donna Dorrance Burdick, Smithfield town historian, will describe how Harriet Sims Russell got to freedom in Peterboro and what her family did in their lives in Peterboro. Burdick will also host the public installation of a gravestone in the Upper Lisle Cemetery for Russell’s daughter Emily on Sunday, August 4 at 12:30 pm.
At 3:15 pm Kate Clifford Larson PhD will present Harriet Tubman: Relaxing in Peterboro, an account of Harriet Tubman’s times spent in Peterboro. Dr. Larson is a leading Harriet Tubman scholar and the author of the critically acclaimed biography, Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero (2004). She has worked as a consultant and interpretive specialist for numerous public history initiatives related to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in Maryland, Delaware, and New York, and is currently a consulting historian for Maryland’s Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State and National Historical Park and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and All American Road. She is currently completing an Historic Resource Study for the Tubman National Monument and Park in Maryland. An author, historian, and consultant with a doctorate from the University of New Hampshire, Larson specializes in 19th and 20th century U.S. Women’s and African American History. Dr. Larson has appeared on national television and radio programs and is a frequent guest speaker and instructor at professional development workshops for teachers including National Endowment for the Humanities and Teaching American History programs.
In 2015 Larson consulted with students from the Morrisville-Eaton Elementary School for In My Backyard, a John Brown Lives collaborative project of song-writing and performing. Larson will share her research on the famous Underground Railroad conductor that describes Tubman’s social and personal relationships with the folks in Peterboro – like sipping coffee in the kitchen with Malvina Russell, daughter of Harriet Russell. On her trips to Peterboro Tubman felt secure, and confident that resources for the rest of her journey would be supplied.
The public is encouraged to attend all or part of the Emancipation Day programs. Admission is a donation. For more information, call (315) 280-8828, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
Illustration of Harriet Tubman by Joseph Flores.