Local Abolitionist Honored in Ceremony at Silver Center Feb. 14

January 29th, 2008 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H.-Plymouth State University celebrates Black History month by commemorating a Plymouth native who became one of America’s leading abolitionists. Nathaniel P. Rogers (1794-1846) was a lawyer, writer and editor who vigorously opposed slavery. Rogers was a trustee of Holmes Academy in the mid-19th century and his homestead once stood on the site of what is today the Silver Center for the Arts. PSU will unveil a portrait of Rogers and re-install a plaque in the Silver Center to honor his humanitarian efforts in a ceremony Feb. 14.

“Nathaniel Rogers was an unwavering voice advocating human equality and a national leader in the American anti-slavery movement,’ said Dr. Whitney Howarth, Assistant Professor of History in Social Science, “We feel honored to commemorate his abolitionist efforts and to recognize his contribution to our community’s history.”

In 1838, Rogers wrote: “We will not argue this, for it is self-evident. A man cannot be a subject of human ownership; neither can he be the owner of humanity…. A man cannot alienate his right to liberty and to himself, – still less can it be taken from him. He cannot part with his duty to be free…. He is under obligation to God and humanity and his own mortality, to retain his manhood and to exercise it. He cannot become the property of another, any more than he can part with his human nature.”

The Feb. 14 ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. in the front lobby of the Silver Center. Speakers will include PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, Sarah Kinter, great-great granddaughter of Nathaniel Rogers, and retired N.H. Supreme Court Justice William Batchelder, a noted local historian. The Plymouth Elementary School’s third grade class, directed by Linda Scott, will sing a 19th century abolitionist song written by Rogers’ friend, ‘The Liberty Ball.’

Additionally, PSU is hosting a lecture by Dr. Timothy Patrick McCarthy, a noted historian from Harvard University, ‘Unearthing the Underground Railroad.’ This event takes place Friday, February 15, at 2:30 p.m. in Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts. This is a free event, but the capacity is limited. To reserve a seat, contact the Silver Center Box Office, 535-ARTS.

Photo courtesy John Hession, original painting courtesy William and Elizabeth Batchelder.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu.Bruce Lyndes