A National Reckoning
John Jay saw racism and slavery as grave moral wrongs. He served as president of the New York Manumission Society, and later, as governor of New York State, signed into law an act for the gradual abolition of slavery. " I wish to see all unjust and all unnecessary discriminations everywhere abolished, and that the time may soon come when all our inhabitants of every color and denomination shall be free and equal partakers of our political liberty ," he wrote in 1785.

And yet contradictorily, and like America itself Jay also sometimes fell short of his highest ideals. Even as he worked to free black Americans, Jay and his family enslaved several men and women. Through research, we have come to know some of their names: Mary, Clarinda, Plato, Peet. We continue to search for their imprints and find ways to share their compelling narratives with students and the public.

F or thirty years, the Jay Heritage Center has made civil rights and social justice programming an integral part of its mission. At one early symposium at our site, Dr. Gretchen Sorin , author of " Driving While Black, " observed that historic sites like JHC can help link the struggles of the framers to our own era's battles over civil rights. Today as our nation struggles to reacquaint itself with its better angels we take that commitment more seriously than ever and stand, as always, against racism of all kinds.

In that spirit, please join us this summer for a series of upcoming conversations about race and social justice at this fraught moment in American history.
Tuesday, July 14, 6:00 p.m.
For more than a decade, Brent Leggs has been working tirelessly to preserve important African American cultural landmarks. Leggs, the executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation , was featured earlier this year in a lengthy profile in the New Yorker . " One site at a time ," writes the magazine's Casey Cep, " Leggs and his colleagues are changing not only what history we preserve but what we think it means to preserve it ."

Join him on Tuesday, July 14, at 6:00 p.m. , for a virtual discussion about saving these too-often-overlooked historic sites.
Wednesday, June 17, 7:30 p.m.
As a staff writer for the New Yorker , George Packer won the National Book Award for his 2013 book "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America," which describes an America coming apart at the seams. He's a wonderfully fluent writer and his new book, " Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century ," was recently named a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize.

Join him on Wednesday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m., at our
virtual book talk, to discuss an America in crisis at home and abroad. For further reading, see Packer's latest piece in the Atlantic , "Shouting Into the Institutional Void."

Jay Heritage Center at the
Jay Estate
A National Historic Landmark
210 Boston Post Road
Rye, NY 10580 

(914) 698-9275
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