Join The 2nd Annual
Abolitionist Freedom Walk '23
Saturday, October 21
We’ll trace a portion of the footsteps of the 104 brave souls who escaped an angry mob of anti-abolitionists in Utica in 1835, embarked on an Erie Canal lumber barge to Canastota, and climbed the trail to Peterboro where they formed the New York State Anti-Slavery Society. Learn more...
The Walk is from Canastota to Clockville and back (5.4 miles - 2 hrs). Map & schedule...
Proceeds from the Abolition Freedom Walk will benefit the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro, NY and the Canal Town Museum in Canastota, NY
Shine a light on this pivotal moment
When a group of prominent NY abolitionists convened in Utica to form the New York State Anti-Slavery Society in 1835, they were disrupted by an angry mob of anti-abolitionists. Gerrit Smith stepped forward and invited the delegates to "Come to Peterboro" to resume the meeting.
This historic event motivated Gerrit Smith to devote himself to the abolitionist cause, making Central New York the heart of the abolitionist movement in America, a safe haven for escaped slaves, and a respite for influential reformers such as Theodore Weld, Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Jermain Loguen and Harriet Tubman during the decades leading up to the Civil War.
The Abolitionist Freedom Walk is one component of a larger celebration sponsored by the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor and managed by the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF). The event will include NAHOF’s induction of new members to the Hall of Fame, historic reenactments, lectures, local foods, installation of permanent signs, and presentations and performances by students from area schools and colleges.
The Smithfield Community Center is home to NAHOF and the site of the inaugural meeting of the New York State Antislavery Society in 1835
Route & Schedule
We'll walk from Canastota to Clockville and back (5.4 miles - 2 hrs). Then we'll gather in Canastota for an after party. Subscribe to the Newsletter for the latest news and updates to the schedule.
A limited number of coach seats are available for the roundtrip between Canastota and Clockville. If you need to ride rather than walk, please add the Coach option at checkout when you register.
Our goal is to celebrate unity in Central New York and shine a light on a largely unrecognized, pivotal moment in the history of the abolitionist movement. We seek broad participation to make this dramatic local history a source of pride and inspiration for freedom-loving people everywhere.