The Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark in Peterboro, Madison County, NY, will hold its 13th Annual Emancipation Day on Saturday, August 5th. 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 Amy Godine, from John Brown Lives! will present on her upcoming book The Black Woods which chronicles the history of Black pioneers in New York’s northern wilderness. From the 1840s to the 1860s, black families migrated to the Adirondacks to build farms and to vote thanks to the 40 acres of land offered for 3,000 black men by Gerrit Smith of Peterboro.
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 (Freedom’s Road Press, 2022), the proceeds of which he donates to two social justice organizations. Hanrahan will explain the 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. He will have books to sign.
The public is encouraged to join the commemoration. The Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark is located at 5324 Oxbow Road, Peterboro, Madison County, NY.
For more information visit www.gerritsmith.org, or email email@example.com.
Emancipation illustration courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.