State Historian to Speak at Abolition Hall of Fame Dinner

Robert Weible, State Historian of New York and Chief Curator of the New York State Museum will provide the keynote address at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) annual dinner at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, October 20 in the Hall of Presidents at Colgate University in Hamilton NY.

Weible’s presentation &#8220The Irrepressible Conflict: The Civil War in New York&#8221 will describe the large exhibit by the same name that opens September 22 at the state museum. The history of New York’s involvement in the Civil War – the state’s role leading up to war, during the war and Reconstruction – and the lasting impact the war had on New Yorkers &#8211 is told through four major themes: The Coming of War, The Battlefield, The Home Front, and Reconstruction and Legacy. The importance of the abolition activities in Central New York – including the acquisition of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and Gerrit Smith – will be included. Read more

Abolition Hall of Fame Induction Events, Symposia

The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum will honor its three 2011 inductees at commemoration ceremonies October 19 – 21, 2012. Abby Kelley Foster, Jermain Wesley Loguen, and George Gavin Ritchie will be honored with a variety of programs during the three days of the event.

The commemoration weekend opens at 3 p.m. Friday, October 19 at the Women’s Studies Center at Colgate University with a panel presentation on Abby Kelley Foster facilitated by Judith Wellman PhD. Friday evening at 7 pm performers from Milford NY will present an antislavery concert Songs and Stories of the Hutchinson Family Singers.On Saturday, October 20 at 10:00 a.m. an exhibit on George Gavin Ritchie arranged by Colgate Library Special Collections opens at the Case Library. Kate Clifford Larson PhD keynotes the buffet luncheon at 11:30 in the Hall of Presidents at Colgate. Dr. Larson will speak on Harriet Tubman and upcoming events in 2013 for the Tubman centennial. The Upstate Institute Abolition Symposia begins at 1 p.m. in Golden Auditorium at Colgate. Programs on Foster, Loguen and Ritchie will be presented during the afternoon symposia.

At 4:45 p.m. Robert Weible, State Historian of New York and Chief Curator of the New York State Museum, will present the keynote An Irrepressible Conflict: New York State in the Civil War at the annual dinner catered by the Colgate Inn. After living portrayals and dramatic presentations at 7 p.m., family members, scholars, and association representatives will unveil the honoree banners to hang in the Hall of Fame.

On Sunday, October 21, the Deli on the Green in Peterboro will open at 8:00 for breakfast. Exhibits at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro will open at 9 a.m. An exhibit on Jermain Wesley Loguen will open at 11:00 a.m. at the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA) in Syracuse. At 2 p.m. the OHA will conduct a walking tour of abolition sites in Syracuse. (Reserve at 315-428-1864 by October 16)

These programs are supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities, Abolition Agitation in New York State Sparks the War for Liberty and Justice, and with funds from the New York Council on the Arts Decentralization Grant Program, a state agency, and the Cultural Resources Council, a regional arts council.

The public of all ages is encouraged to participate in all or parts of this annual event to learn of the important role that Central New York played in the ignition of the Civil War. For more information:, [email protected], 315-366-8101, 315-684-3262. Reservations for lunch, dinner, and conference packages by October 10 at or to National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro NY 13035.

Sernett and Humphreys Team for Abolition Lyceum

Milton C. Sernett PhD has asked Hugh C. Humphreys to join the presentation of the Abolition Lyceum IV: Slavery, Law, and Politics for the annual National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) event Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. in Golden Auditorium at Colgate University, Hamilton NY. This lecture is fourth in a series of five lectures chronicling the history of American abolition from the Colonial Period to the Civil War which Dr. Sernett has delivered each year.

Humphreys and Sernett team up to examine the intersection of politics in the debates over American slavery and abolition. They will explore the legal and political aspects of the debate over slavery by highlighting watershed events such as the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Amistad Incident, the Great Fugitive Slave Convention held in Cazenovia in 1850, the political debate over the Compromise of 1850 and the struggles that took place in the Kansas Territory over the issue of &#8220popular sovereignty&#8221 and slavery. Other topics of interest will be efforts of abolitionists to organize political parties and the rise of Lincoln and the Republican Party. Humphreys and Sernett will also be talking about the debates over the Constitution, the emergence of political abolitionism, and the role played by significant figures such as Gerrit Smith, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and Abraham Lincoln. Humphreys will discuss the Dred Scott Case where the fate of Scott and his family went all the way to the Supreme Court. Several video clips will be shown.

Milton C. Sernett is Professor Emeritus of African American Studies and History, having taught at Syracuse University for thirty years. He has spoken widely on abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, and Harriet Tubman. His books include North Star Country: Upstate New York and the Crusade for African American Freedom- Abolition’s Axe: Beriah Green, Oneida Institute and the Black Freedom Struggle- and Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, & History. Sernett is a founder and a member of the Cabinet of Freedom of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hugh C. Humphreys is a retired Madison County judge and currently teaches a course on abolition law at Syracuse University. Humphreys researched and published Heritage #19 on the Great Cazenovia Convention for the Madison County Historical Society. Humphreys is a founder and a member of the Cabinet of Freedom for the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum. He has generously shared his oratory, painting, and theatre talents with Peterboro heritage projects for two decades.

The Abolition Lyceum IV Slavery, Law, and Politics is twelve dollars at the door, or free with the Total Day Package for the annual NAHOF event. For more information and registration:, [email protected], 315-366-8101

This illustrated lyceum presentation will draw on images and text from the traveling exhibit panel &#8220The Politics of Slavery and Abolition&#8221 that is part of the traveling exhibit of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum. All eight panels of the exhibit will be shown for the first time following the Lyceum.

The Traveling Abolition Museum will officially open to the public at 11:30 a.m. in the Clark Room in the James C. Colgate Building at Colgate University. Dr. Sernett created the text and assembled the visuals for the traveling “walls” to chronicle American abolition in a similar way that Sernett’s lyceum series has done. Scott Hughes managed the fabrication and the installations. The mobile museum has been made possible by generous donations from the American International College, Norman K. Dann and Dorothy Willsey-Dann, The Gorman Foundation, Ellen Percy Kraly, the New York Business Development Corporation, Dr. Milton C. Sernett and Janet M. Sernett, Maryann M. Winters, and the Upstate Institute at Colgate University. The public is encouraged to attend the free exhibit.

Expelled Abolitionist Being Honored

On the Hamilton NY campus from which he was expelled in 1847, George Gavin Ritchie will be honored in 2011. Ritchie’s expulsion from Madison University (now Colgate University) for his antislavery activities did not deter him from continuing to fight for abolition. Family, supporters, and others will gather in Golden Auditorium at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 22, 2011 to participate in ceremonies to induct Ritchie into the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro NY.

Nellie K. Edmonston & William E. Edmonston, Jr. write in their nomination of Ritchie to the Hall of Fame: “George Gavin Ritchie, editor of the first student newspaper at Madison University (at that time a Baptist Seminary- now Colgate University), was expelled for publishing his editorial, “Equal Suffrage and the Religious Press” (Hamilton Student, January 15, 1847) criticizing the voters and churches of New York State for not supporting equal suffrage for black males in the election of 1846. From this time forward his life was consumed with the cause of abolition.&#8221

&#8220In the face of public repudiation and humiliation by the faculty, he continued publication of the paper in Hamilton, NY, first as the Hamilton Student, then as the Hamilton Student and Christian Reformer, and finally as the Christian Reformer, an organ fearlessly devoted to abolition and other reforms. He advocated antislavery through editorializing, reprinting letters and articles from other abolition and mainstream papers announcing abolitionist meetings, and voicing support for his contemporary and colleague, Gerrit Smith. The Hamilton Student was the voice of abolition and reform in Central New York during its brief history.”

Born in Scotland in 1820, Ritchie died at an early age of 33 (Frederick Douglass’ Paper March 25, 1853). In those short years Ritchie preached antislavery from many pulpits in New York and served on local, state, and national anti-slavery committees. The Edmonstons will explain much more of Ritchie’s life and legacy in a lecture on George Gavin Ritchie at 2:30 p.m. in Golden Auditorium, as part of the Upstate Institute Abolition Symposia during the afternoon of October 22.

The Ritchie induction to the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) is the result of the first public nomination submitted to NAHOF. Nellie K. and William E. Edmonston have lived in Hamilton, NY for nearly 50 years. Both are retired teachers: Nellie was a Speech-Language Pathologist at the Sherburne-Earlville Central School and Bill is Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience/Psychology at Colgate University. Both have published in their respective fields- Nellie, professional articles and a language comprehension test for young children- Bill, professional articles and three professional books. From1989 to 2005 they had a small publishing company (Edmonston Publishing, Inc.) that specialized in original letters and journals of the American Civil War.

Nellie created the original and at the time only biographical article on upstate abolitionist George Gavin Ritchie as a presentation to the Hamilton Fortnightly Club in 1994 and as a contribution to the 1995 Hamilton Bicentennial Book. In 1997 Edmonston Publishing released Four Years in the First New York Light Artillery. The Papers of David F. Ritchie. David F. Ritchie was the son of George Gavin Ritchie, and it was through the publication of his Civil War papers that the Edmonstons became good friends with the Ritchie family.

With the development of the National Abolition Hall of Fame in 2005, the Edmonstons recognized the importance of nominating the local abolitionist and martyr to the cause, George Gavin Ritchie, whose story had lain in archival obscurity for nearly 160 years. Now his story will be properly preserved.

The public is encouraged to attend and participate in the “righting of Ritchie.” Admission to the evening induction ceremonies is $5 at the door. Admission to the 2:30 Ritchie is $5 at the door. (Admission to all four afternoon programs is $8.) Colgate students, faculty, and staff are free. Information and registration for other events of the day is available at, [email protected], and 315-366-8101.

Syracuse Abolitionist Inducted to Hall of Fame

Jermain Wesley Loguen, famous “Underground Railroad King” of Syracuse, will be inducted into the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum at Saturday, October 22, 2011 ceremonies to be held at Colgate University in Hamilton NY. Milton C. Sernett Ph.D. professor emeritus of African American Studies and History, Syracuse University, provides a brief history of the new inductee:

Born into slavery in 1813 “Jarm” stole his master’s horse in 1834 and escaped to Canada West where he farmed for a few years. In 1837 he went to Rochester, NY and worked as a hotel porter. Later he attended Beriah Green’s abolitionist school at Whitesboro, NY and while there he started a Sunday school for African American children in Utica. He married Caroline Storum in 1840 and they had six children, one of whom (Amelia) married Lewis Douglass, the son of Frederick and Anna Douglass.

The Loguens moved to Syracuse in 1841. Jermain taught school and became a licensed preacher of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, serving congregations in Syracuse, Bath, Ithaca, and Troy. He was as much an abolitionist activist as a minister and became one of the nation’s most active agents of the Underground Railroad. He assisted the Rev. Samuel J. May, a Unitarian clergyman in Syracuse, with Underground Railroad work. The Loguen house near the intersection of Pine and Genesee Streets was a principal station on the Underground Railroad. Loguen placed letters in the Syracuse press openly discussing his activities and asking for donations to assist fugitives. Loguen is said to have aided more than 1500 freedom seekers.

Donna Dorrance Burdick, historian for the Town of Smithfield, relates, “In 1844 Frederick Douglass introduced Loguen to Gerrit Smith. On September 1, 1846, Loguen joined Henry Highland Garnet and Samuel Ringgold Ward as a recipient of common Peterboro property.” The passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850 brought Loguen’s response of, &#8220It outlaws me, and I outlaw it.&#8221 Following his participation in the Jerry Rescue of October 1851, he was one of five African Americans indicted in the incident. He fled to Canada returning to Syracuse in the spring of 1852 and resumed his Underground Railroad activities.”

The Induction of Jermain Wesley Loguen begins at 1:30 p.m. in Golden Auditorium at Colgate University with I Owe My Freedom to the God Who Made Me: Jermain Loguen and the Struggle for Freedom presented by Carol Hunter PhD, professor of history at Earlham College in Richmond IN. Dr. Hunter’s 1989 doctoral dissertation at Binghamton University researched Loguen and the abolition movement in upstate New York. A revised and edited version of the work was published in 1993 as To Set the Captives Free: Reverend Jermain Wesley Loguen and the Struggle for Freedom in Central New York 1835-1872. Hunter’s lecture is one of the afternoon Upstate Institute Abolition Symposia programs supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.

Loguen’s official public nomination by Onondaga Historical Association, and others with Loguen connections, will be part of the October 22 evening ceremonies at 7 p.m. in Golden Auditorium at Colgate University. Loguen’s part in the Jerry Rescue of 1851 will also be included in John Rudy’s program The Jerry Level: Gerrit Smith and the Memory of the Jerry Rescue at 2 pm Satruday, October 1, 2011 at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark, 4543 Peterboro Road, Peterboro NY 13134-0169. (Admission: $2)

The public is encouraged to attend the Loguen sessions. Admission at the door for each of the lectures and the induction ceremony is five dollars. (Admission for all four symposia programs is eight dollars.) Information and registration forms for the day-long induction event are available at 315-366-8101 and [email protected] and

Illustration: Portrait of Jermain Wesley Loguen created by artist Joseph Flores of Rochester NY for the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum for the occasion of the induction of Loguen to the Hall.

Abby Kelley Foster Inducted into Halls of Fame

Abolitionist and women’s rights activist Abby Kelley Foster will be inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame on October 1st in Seneca Falls and into the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) on Saturday, October 22 at ceremonies to be held at Colgate University.

Born in Pelham, MA January 15, 1811 Kelley was raised a Quaker and became a teacher at the Friends School in Lynn MA in 1829. In 1832, when she lived in Worcester, she was influenced by a speech from radical abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. She joined the Lynn Female Anti-Slavery Society, and in 1837, she, and others, gathered over six thousand signatures on anti-slavery petitions.

The Lynn Female Society named her a delegate to the first national Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in New York City. The following year, at the second Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, Abby Kelley gave her first speech against slavery with a mob threatening to burn down Pennsylvania Hall.

Abby and fellow radical abolitionist Stephen Foster married in 1845 and bought a farm in Worcester MA. Abby gave birth to their daughter, Alla, in 1847. Kelley faced hostile audiences from within and from outside the abolition movement in her five decades of advocating for immediate abolition of slavery and for advocating leaving churches that did not condemn slavery.

At 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, Stacey Robertson PhD. will present Abby Kelley Foster: A Radical Voice in the West, the first program in the annual afternoon Upstate Institute Inductee Symposia. Robertson states, “Abby Kelley Foster single handedly transformed the nature of the western antislavery movement in the 1840s. From her first visit in the summer of 1845 she inspired hundreds of abolitionists to reconsider their approach to the movement and embrace a more uncompromising position. Women found her irresistible and she helped to organize dozens of female anti-slavery societies in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. She also convinced several women to join her in the lecturing field, devoting themselves full-time to the movement. No other person impacted western antislavery more than Abby Kelley Foster.”

Dr. Robertson is the Oglesby Professor of American Heritage and the Director of the Women’s Studies Program at Bradley University (Peoria IL) where she has taught since 1994. She is the author of three books: Parker Pillsbury: Radical Abolitionist, Male Feminist (2000), Hearts Beating for Liberty: Women Abolitionists in the Old Northwest (2010), and Antebellum Women: Private, Public, Partisan (American Controversies), co-authored with Carol Lasser (2010). She is the recipient of many teaching awards and research fellowships and has lectured at more than one hundred different venues nationally and internationally.

The Worcester Women’s History Project (WWHP) in Worcester MA will partner with NAHOF for the evening induction ceremonies at 7 p.m. in Golden Auditorium at Colgate. Lynne McKenney Lydick will present a one woman play Yours for Humanity —Abby which the WWHP. Members of the WWHP will also participate in the induction ceremony for Foster in the evening.

The public is encouraged to attend the Foster sessions. Admission at the door for each of the lectures and the induction ceremony is five dollars. (Admission for all four symposia programs is eight dollars.) Information and registration forms for the day-long induction event are available at or at 315-366-8101.

Photo: Abby Kelley Foster portrait created by artist Joseph Flores of Rochester NY for the abolitionist’s induction into the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum at ceremonies on Saturday, October 22 at Colgate University, Hamilton NY.

The Gerrit Smith-Frederick Douglass Partnership

It was an unusual partnership: a runaway slave and a wealthy New York landholder. Gerrit Smith and Frederick Douglass were drawn together by a shared commitment to ending slavery and guaranteeing equal rights for all. Their friendship began tentatively in the late 1840s at about the time Douglass launched his first newspaper, the North Star, in Rochester NY. It solidified in the early 1850s and contributed to Douglass’ acrimonious break with his original abolitionist associates, the followers of Boston editor William Lloyd Garrison. His growing ties to Smith enabled Douglass to leave the narrow ideological orbit of the Garrisonians and join the growing ranks of the northerners pursuing political antislavery tactics.

John R. McKivigan Ph.D. will speak further on his studies of this unique partnership during his keynote address The Gerrit Smith &#8211 Frederick Douglass Partnership for the annual dinner of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum on Saturday, October 22, 2011 at the Hall of Presidents at Colgate University in Hamilton NY.

Douglass and Smith were two of the most influential, respected, and powerful abolitionists in our nation. Both reformers were among the first five persons inducted into the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro in 2005. McKivigan will focus on the collaborative work of these two famous men.

Dr. McKivigan received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and is currently a professor of United States History at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. McKivigan, a respected scholar of the American anti-slavery movement, was an adjunct member of the History and Afro-American and African Studies Department at Yale University from 1979 to 1989 and series co-editor of The Frederick Douglass Papers 1989 to 1992. Since 1994, McKivigan has been the director of the Frederick Douglass Papers, a documentary editing project supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. McKivigan co-authored research articles on Gerrit Smith as early as 1983 with such works as The Ambivalent Six, He Stands like Jupiter: The Autobiography of Gerrit Smith, and The &#8216-Black Dream’ of Gerrit Smith, New York Abolitionist.

The collaborations of Douglass and Smith will be revisited at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 23 at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro when Dr. McKivigan and Dr. Norman K. Dann walk together among the structures and exhibits on abolition and the Underground Railroad further discussing the partnership of the two men and the words and deeds that transpired from their times together in Peterboro over 160 years ago.

C. James Trotman Ph.D. will close the Upstate Institute afternoon symposia at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 22 in Golden Hall at Colgate University with a tribute to Frederick Douglass as the Pioneering Reformer. Dr. Trotman is professor emeritus and the founding director of the Frederick Douglass Institute at West Chester University PA. Dr. Trotman presented for the Hall of Fame commemoration of Douglass in 2006.

The public is encouraged to attend parts or all of the annual National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum event. For the complete schedule and the registration form: or contact [email protected] and 315-366-8101.