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Cazenovia to Montgomery: Douglass to King

Hugh Humphreys speaks on the anti-slavery painting that he presented at the Smithfield Community Center in Peterboro in 2011. Humphreys, who is a researcher, writer, and presenter on the 1850 Cazenovia protest to the Fugitive Slave Law, will tie the 20th  century Civil Rights movement to the 19th century antislavery movement in Madison County at an illustrated program at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Smithfield Community Center.

Hugh Humphreys speaks on the anti-slavery painting that he presented at the Smithfield Community Center in Peterboro in 2011. Humphreys, who is a researcher, writer, and presenter on the 1850 Cazenovia protest to the Fugitive Slave Law, will tie the 20th century Civil Rights movement to the 19th century antislavery movement in Madison County at an illustrated program at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Smithfield Community Center.

In recognition of the Great Cazenovia Convention of Aug. 22, 1850, Hugh C. Humphreys, the author of “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate! The Great Fugitive Slave Law Convention and its Rare Daguerreotype,” will use images, research and oratory to connect the famous 1850 event in Cazenovia to events in Montgomery, Ala.

Humphreys has researched and presented on the protest organized by Frederick Douglass and Gerrit Smith in response to the cursed Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

The daguerreotype of that protest to agitate citizens against the abominations of the law has become a much-used and minimally-credited image of anti-slavery protests in 19th century America.

The daguerreotype taken by Cazenovia daguerreotypist Ezra Greenleaf Weld is a treasured possession of the Madison County Historical Society and will be enlarged to wall size at The Irrepressible Conflict exhibit to open at the New York State Museum on Sept. 22.

In his program “Agitate! Awakening of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (From Cazenovia N.Y. to Montgomery AL : Douglass to King)” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Smithfield Community Center, Humphreys will connect the Civil Rights protests of King to the 1850 Cazenovia protest of Douglass and Smith. This presentation is part of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2012 program series, “Abolition Agitation in New York Sparks War for Liberty for All.”

Among the purposes of the series is to point out the important role that Central New York played in the 19th Century reform efforts which provided foundations for reform movements in the 20th Century.

The series is supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.

Humphreys’ program will take place at the Smithfield Community Center at 5255 Pleasant Valley Road in Peterboro, where his 2011 painting of an anti-slavery meeting in Peterboro hangs in the Abolition Hall of Fame. Visitors to the program are encouraged to come early to visit the Abolition Hall of Fame and Abolition Museum. Copies of Humphreys’ publication (Madison County Historical Society Heritage No. 19, 1994) will be available for purchase — as well as other anti-slavery meeting items.

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