National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum to Host ‘Resisting the New Jim Crow’

by National Abolition Hall of Fame/Upcoming Events


2 p.m. Saturday, July 9, 2016

National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum
5255 Pleasant Valley Road    PO Box 55
Peterboro, NY 13134

At 2 p.m. Saturday, July 9 the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) will host the culminating event for its CHANGING AMERICA exhibit and programs: a Community Conversation on the subject of “Resisting the New Jim Crow.”  NAHOF invites the public to join in sharing thoughts about the ways to engage in the work of racial justice at this time. This conversation will aim to help each be active, in many small ways, in standing together to work toward an end to such things as the school-to-prison pipeline, police brutality, and the legacy of white supremacy that still perpetuates racism and de-values black lives. Following the Civil War, despite the enactment of the13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, state and local governments enforced laws that included racial segregation in restrooms, restaurants, schools, housing, and transportation. These unjust regulations were called Jim Crow laws. (“Jim Crow” had become a pejorative word for African-Americans in the early 1800s.) Most of these laws were overturned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The “New Jim Crow” practices are renewed attempts at discrimination and repression since the Civil Rights laws. Given continued American racism and NAHOF’s mission to honor antislavery abolitionists, their work to end slavery, and the legacy of that struggle, and strive to complete the second and ongoing abolition – the moral conviction to end racism, the session will identify actions that Central New Yorkers can begin the next day and ways in which participants can ‘March on Central New York’ as 21st century abolitionists.

Drea Finley will be the lead facilitator of the community conversation. Finley is a member of the Cabinet of Freedom for the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum and is co-chair of its Cultural Diversity Committee. In her working life, Finley serves as an Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising and Director of First Generation Programs at Colgate University. Finley is also a Masters student at Syracuse University in the Higher Education Cultural Foundations Program. As an activist; she writes and speaks often on race and racism and their intersections with other identities and systems of oppression.

Deirdre Sinnott, writer and activist, will also be facilitating. She has presented on the Utica’s role in the history of the abolition movement at: Harriet Tubman 2016 Underground Railroad Conference, Cambridge, MD; Oneida County Historical Society, Utica, NY; Bluestockings Bookstore, Manhattan; Adams Antiquarian Book Shop, Hobart, NY; Otisville Correctional Facility’s Black History Month Celebration, Otisville, NY. She conceived and organized the 2015 Commemoration of Utica’s Abolition History Day at Hope Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in home of Utica’s oldest African-American congregation, on the 180th anniversary of the Utica Riot against the founding of the New York Anti-Slavery Society. Sinnott is presently writing a novel set in Utica in 1835.

Other members of the Cabinet of Freedom (NAHOF governing board) who will join in the discussion include: Norman K. Dann PhD, researcher and author of Gerrit Smith, and Tim McLaughlin PhD, Vice-President and Project Director for the Changing America exhibit and programs. Jordan Henderson, 2016 Colgate University Upstate Fellow at NAHOF, will also be part of the NAHOF presenters.

Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963, a national traveling exhibition which explores the relationship between two great people’s movements for equal rights, opened at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF)  at 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro NY 13134 on Saturday, June 4, 2016. NAHOF is one of fifty sites in the country awarded this special exhibit. Changing America examines the events leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and the March on Washington in 1963. Both events grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization, and vision. One hundred years separate them, yet they are linked in the larger story of a struggle for liberty which brought together different races, classes and ideologies and had a profound impact on the generations that followed.

The Changing America traveling exhibition is presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The development and tour of Changing America are made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): Exploring the human endeavor.

The public is encouraged to attend the Changing America exhibit and program at 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro NY 13134. Admission is free.

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