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Home > SPJ News > SPJ names home of anti-slavery publisher as 2011 Historic Site in Journalism

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SPJ names home of anti-slavery publisher as 2011 Historic Site in Journalism


11/11/2010


For Immediate Release:
11/11/2010

Contacts:
Deborah Givens, SPJ Campus Adviser, (859) 622-6564, deborah.givens@eku.edu
Liz Hansen, SPJ Campus Adviser (859) 622-1488, liz.hansen@eku.edu
Andrew M. Scott, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 215, ascott@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists announces the naming of White Hall, home of newspaper publisher Cassius Marcellus Clay, as the 2011 National Historic Site in Journalism.

Clay published an anti-slavery newspaper, The True American. He began printing in June 1845 during the heart of pro-slavery Kentucky despite threats to his life and business. Clay’s objective was “to use a state and National Constitutional right – the freedom of the press – to change national and state laws, so as, by a legal majority, to abolish slavery.”

On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, a year after the bicentennial of Clay’s birth, the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Communication and the EKU campus chapter of SPJ will host a special recognition ceremony at White Hall. National SPJ President Hagit Limor will speak at the 11 a.m. event, followed by a reception.
Through the paper, printed in Lexington, Clay anticipated the reaction anti-slavery editorial matter in his paper would bring. He fortified the newspaper office with Mexican lances, guns and two brass cannons. He continued to publish the newspaper from Cincinnati after a mob seized his press, type and equipment.

Having served as a state representative and later a captain during the Mexican War, Clay helped found the Republican Party and was appointed Minister to Russia by President Abraham Lincoln.

White Hall, the home where Clay grew up and spent most of his adult life, was constructed over an older home built by his father in 1798 on 2,200 acres in northern Madison County. Restoration of the home was completed in 1971 with much of the furniture used by Clay and his family returned to the mansion. His books, desks, dueling pistols, letters and pages of The True American are on display in the home, which is maintained by Kentucky State Parks.

SPJ’s Historic Sites in Journalism program honors the people and places that have played important roles in U.S. journalism history. Learn more about the SPJ Historic Sites in Journalism and view a list of previous sites here.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.

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