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Upstate Institute hosts National Abolition Hall of Fame Induction

By Upstate Institute on January 22, 2011
Nellie K. Edmonston and William E. Edmonston, Jr. Ph.D present on National Abolitionist Hall of Fame inductee George Gavin Ritchie.

Nellie K. Edmonston and William E. Edmonston, Jr. Ph.D present on National Abolitionist Hall of Fame inductee George Gavin Ritchie.

Join the Upstate Institute and the National Abolition Hall of Fame hosted the 2011 Induction Ceremony on October 22nd at Colgate University. Abby Kelly Foster, Jermain Wesley Loguen, and George Gavin Ritchie were inducted into the hall at the event, and several presentations honored their life-long commitment to the abolishment of slavery.

Abby Kelley Foster was a Massachusetts anti-slavery lecturer, organizer, and fundraiser. Abby Kelley is most remembered for her advocacy of “come-outerism,” the belief that abolitionists must leave churches that did not fully condemn slavery, but she was also an outstanding organizer and fundraiser. Her anti-slavery career spanned more than three decades. During the Civil War, she continued to oppose political and violent means to end slavery. After the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, she believed that abolitionists should continue their agitation, and she fought for the Fifteenth Amendment, which granted African American men the right to vote.

Jermain Wesley Loguen is often hailed as the “Underground Railroad King.” He was born on February 5, 1813, into slavery in Davidson County, Tennessee.Known then as “Jarm Logue,” he was the son of David Logue, his white master, and an enslaved woman named Cherry. Jarm stole his master’s horse in 1834 and escaped , then attended Beriah Green’s abolitionist school at Whitesboro, New York, though he did not graduate. While there he started a Sunday school for African American children in Utica. 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 his Underground Railroad work but gradually took the lead. In all, Loguen is said to have aided more than 1500 freedom seekers.

George Gavin Ritchie, editor of the first student newspaper at Madison University (now Colgate University), was expelled for publishing his editorial, “Equal Suffrage and the Religious Press,” criticizing the voters and churches of New York State for not supporting equal suffrage for black men in the election of 1846. The faculty of Madison University not only expelled him from the seminary – thwarting his efforts to obtain his degree in his chosen field as a minister of the Baptist church – but made every effort to deny him any legitimate role in the church in New York State. He found “every college door in the land locked and bolted and barred” against him, making it impossible for him to enter another seminary or to be ordained.

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