WATERTOWN, NY – During the fall in 2021, the Historical Society of the New York
Courts, in collaboration with the New York State Courts, began a 90-week tour to 45 courthouses across New York State of The Lemmon Case: 1852-1860, A Prelude to the Civil War. This panel exhibit of the landmark Court of Appeals case features a video narration by James Earl Jones with an introduction by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. The exhibit is intended to educate the public on the remarkable role of the New York courts in paving the way for the abolition of slavery.
Through the facts of the case, we learn how the courts helped free eight enslaved young women and children who sailed into New York harbor with their owners from Virginia. The New York courts’ ruling was in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision of 1857, and it represented the most unyielding statement made against slavery by any court in the United States prior to the Civil War.
The exhibit will be on display at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 163 Arsenal Street, Watertown, in the Fifth Judicial District through Friday, January 13th.
The exhibit will then move to the Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington Street, Watertown, beginning on Tuesday, January 17th through Friday, January 27th.
More information, including the full tour schedule can be found by visiting the Historical Society’s website at history.nycourts.gov/the-lemmon-slave-case.
President of the Historical Society and former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said: “The Historical Society of the New York Courts is proud to highlight this historic case at a time when the nation wrestles with issues of racial bias and access to justice.”
All visitors to New York State Unified Court System courthouses and other court facilities are required to follow all UCS security protocols.