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Slavery was legal in New York state until 1827
Slavery was legal in New York state until 1827

Exploring New York's slave legacy, past and present

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This morning in Lake Placid, teachers and historians and activists begin a two-day conference to talk about slavery.

New Yorkers played a big role in the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, financing and profiting from an industry that ruined the lives of more than 12 million Africans.

Slave-owning wasn't banned in this state until 1827. Modern-day activists say human trafficking and exploitation is once again on the rise.

Martha Swan is with a group called John Brown Lives.

She told Brian Mann that this conference, which is open to the public, will explore the history and present-day reality of slavery.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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Conference Schedule

Friday December 3       
Heaven Hill Farm: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Educators Workshop with Margaret Washington, Ron Soodalter, Mia Nagawiecki, Betsy Gibbons, Reggie Harris, Gale Jackson, Duane Vaughn, and Anne Kelley (pre-registration required)

Lake Placid Center for the Arts: 7:00 – 9:00 pm (Free & open to the public)
Slavery, Film & the Shaping of the American Conscience—film clips & discussion led by Dr. J.W. Wiley and Martha Swan

Saturday December 4
High Peaks Resort    (Free & open to the public)
8:00 – 8:30 am: Registration
8:30 – 9:00 am: Welcome & Special Opening with folksinger Reggie Harris and Dr. Thomas Hopkins, descendent of Harpers Ferry Raider, John A. Copeland

Part I: Slavery Yesterday
9:00 – 9:45 am: Ron Soodalter, author of Hanging Captain Gordon: The Life & Trial of an American Slave Trader
9:45 – 10:30 am: Sherrill Wilson on African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan
10:30 – 10:45: Break
10:30 – noon: Panel Discussion with Thom Thacker, Director of Philipsburg Manor; Wanda Burch, former Director of Johnson Hall; Gale Jackson on Sojourner Truth; and independent scholar Amy Godine on slavery and near-slavery in New York State
noon - 1:30 pm: Lunch   

Part II: Slavery Today
1:30 – 1:45 pm: Folksinger Reggie Harris
1:45 – 2:15 pm: Florrie Burke, Co-Chair, Freedom Network (USA)
2:15 – 2:45 pm: Tina Stanford, Director, NYS Office of Victims Services
2:45 – 3:15 pm: Questions & Break   
3:15 – 4:30 pm: Panel Discussion with Chandra Bhatnagar, ACLU Staff Attorney on guestworkers; Renan Salgado, Farmworker Legal Services on trafficking in NYS agriculture; Duane Vaughn, Director, Wait House on vulnerability of runaway and homeless youth
5:00 – 6:00 pm: Wreath-laying Ceremony at John Brown Farm
9:00 pm - ?: Closing Reception at Northwoods Inn

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