Thurs, May 11 at Western Reserve Academy. Annual Meeting of Members. More details to come!
WRA Students Describe How the Abolitionist Movement Divided 1830s Hudson at April HHA Meeting
Students at Western Reserve Academy will be the featured speakers at the April 13 general meeting of Hudson Heritage Association when they discuss how the issue of slavery divided the WRA campus and the community of Hudson in the early 1830s as students and faculty took sides in a debate that would soon split communities across the United States. The program, which will be held at the Barlow Community Center, begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will follow the presentation.
Speaking on the topic of “The Slavery Controversy of 1831-33 at Western Reserve College: Idyllic Academia vs. Social Activism,” the WRA students will describe the slavery dispute of the early 1830s that caused an uproar in the town of Hudson and on its nearby campus – then home to Western Reserve College. The two groups to collide in Hudson at this time were known colloquially as the “colonizationists” and “abolitionists.” The former group advocated for voluntary emancipation accompanied by the gradual deportation of free blacks and former enslaved people “back” to Africa. The other – much smaller in number at first – called for immediate emancipation and the crafting of political protections for former enslaved people. The Western Reserve Academy students will recount this history in greater detail, describing events such as the threatened tar and feathering of a college student speaking in Aurora, how the then president of Western Reserve College became a martyr to abolitionism, and how the early activists finally won a symbolic victory when famed abolitionist Frederick Douglas was invited to speak at the college’s commencement celebrations in 1854.
The students who will present are enrolled in a course called “History of Hudson & WRC/A.” In addition to learning about the history of the Connecticut Western Reserve, those in the class study the founding and settlement of Hudson, and the establishment and subsequent development of Western Reserve College (and its preparatory school, later to become WRA). As part of the class, students can research historically significant topics of their own choosing. The April 13 presentation will be the result of the students’ independent research.