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Sojourner Truth, Slavery, and the Justice System: The Importance of Preserving Court Documents
October 4 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
Free In-Person and Online Event at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture — Open to the Public
Presented by the Historical Society of the New York Courts in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York State Archives, and Unified Court System
Sojourner Truth stands today as an iconic activist. She was born into slavery but escaped to freedom. Shortly after freeing herself, she began the process of restoring her family and went to court in Ulster County to free her son — and won. Truth became one of the first Black women to win a lawsuit, and while the records of this historic case were preserved, at some point in the ensuing 200 years they were lost — only to be recovered in 2022, igniting greater understanding of Truth’s undaunting courage.
This program will tell the story of Sojourner Truth’s inspiring life, and will also focus on the detective story of how the records were recovered and the important role of archives in preserving documents for future generations and teaching history to better inform the future.
WELCOME & INTRODUCTION
PRESENTATION: THE LIFE OF SOJOURNER TRUTH
Dr. Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University
PANEL DISCUSSION: THE IMPACT OF THE COURT CASE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF PRESERVING COURT RECORDS
Dr. Michelle Commander, Program Moderator, Deputy Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library
Paul O’Neill, Esq., Commissioner of Jurors, Ulster County
Dr. Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor American History, Emerita, Princeton University
Thomas J. Ruller, NYS Archivist
Q&A: Moderated by Dr. Michelle Commander