National Abolitionist Hall of Fame Inducts Members in Little Hall Ceremony

Alan Pleat

On Saturday, October 22, the National Abolitionist Hall of Fame (NAHOF) induction ceremony was held in Little Hall to recognize 19th century American abolitionists for their heroic actions. The NAHOF induction ceremony forced partici­pants to open their eyes to the plight of the African American people.

“We are here today to honor the people who were instrumental in changing the moral stance of Ameri­ca on equality by creating the stand­point that all were created equal and from one eternal judge,” Michael Saafir said, a member of the Cabinet of Freedom and a representative of inductee Jermain Loguen.

Saafir went on to suggest that the event was dedicated to all peo­ple, not just the inductees, who in some way have “resurrected” change by persisting in their ac­tions through time in order to make a difference in the societal organization of our community today. Saafir proclaimed that we must thank and acknowledge these individuals for all they have sacri­ficed for our privilege of living in a world in which no racial barriers restrict the path on which we take our lives.

Yet, as this event elucidated the point we’ve reached in society, it also provided us with a “weaving” of the tale of African American his­tory through time. A powerful in­troductory speech led by Master of Ceremonies Hugh Humphreys left people chanting “amen” fervently.

As the event continued, sev­eral acts were performed to ex­emplify the lives of each of the three unique inductees. The audience was immediately en­gulfed into the journey that the three abolitionists, Kelley Fos­ter, Jermain Loguen and Gavin Ritchie, went through in order to reach their goals of achieving multiracial acceptance.

Lynne Lydick, who performed a skit modeling inductee Abby Kel­ley Foster, passionately proclaimed that past African Americans slaves were “beaten raw by mastership” and then forced into captivity like helpless human tools. Lydick served as a testament to the unique mystique the ceremony provided for its audience.

Although not as well known as global figures such as Martin Lu­ther King and Mother Theresa, the audience understood what these three visionaries helped achieve for our generation.

The same university which ex­pelled inductee George Gavin Ritchie for speaking out against racism is now the location of his proud induction into a community of idols.

Ritchie was a student at Mad­ison University (which was later renamed Colgate University) be­fore being expelled for convey­ing his abolitionist prose to his fellow student body.

“This inauguration symbol­izes how each abolitionist per­sistently stood up for what they believed in and fought against the forces of popular belief at the time,” President of the Worcester Women’s History Project and a representative for inductee Abby Foster, Fran Langille said.

Langille suggests that the cer­emony serves to show that mi­nority groups, such as women and African Americans, can in fact advance human rights for all through a constant vigorous pursuit of success. The quest for equality has no boundaries and no limitations.

The NAHOF induction cer­emony serves as beacon of hope for further progression in the field of equality in the Chenango Val­ley and around the world. As sug­gested by the plethora of speakers at the event, we have come a long way, but there is still work left to be done.

Contact Alan Pleat at [email protected]