Underground railroad leads talk

The Canalside Talk for March will feature Morrisville College Professor Emeritus Dr. Norm Dann speaking on "The Legacy of the Underground Railroad: What It Means To Us Today," at the Canal Town Education Center on Monday March 9 at 7 p.m.

Dann and other community leaders and professionals formed the National Abolition Hall of Fame in Peterboro five years ago. There were five people in the initial class of inductees in 2006, four more in 2008 and two are scheduled for the 2009 induction scheduled in October.

Dann is a founding member of the Cabinet of Freedom that has created the National Abolitionist Hall of Fame and Museum. He resides in a cottage on the former estate of Abolitionist Gerrit Smith, who was a first-year inductee of the Abolition Hall of Fame.

When the first meeting of the New York State Anti-Slavery Society was driven out of Utica in 1835, it was adjourned to Peterboro and convened in the Peterboro Presbyterian Church. The former church still stands and is now owned by the town of Smithfield and houses the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum on its second floor.

Peterboro visitors in the 1800s included nearly all of the famous abolitionists of the time. Smith dedicated his life and personal fortune to the cause, and Peterboro served as the Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad.

Canal Town's Education Center is located at 110 Center St.

The program is free and followed by a question and answer period.

Light refreshments will be served.

The final presentation of the 2009 Canalside series will be held April 6. Gilles Roy of Chittenango will speak on Dewitt Clinton and his up and down experiences in gathering support in New York State to back the Canal. Roy's topic will be "So You Think You Know Dewitt Clinton." Roy is an active member of the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum where he headed up the effort to construct a canal barge for educational use.

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