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Traveling display opens at Yates courthouse ADVERTISEMENT

Traveling display opens at Yates courthouse

PENN YAN--Yates County Judge Jason Cook was joined by Seventh Judicial District Administrative Judge William Taylor and former Yates County Judge Patrick Falvey at a ceremony in the Yates Courthouse, Thursday, June 2 to unveil the Historical Society of New York Courts' Traveling Lemmon Slave Case Exhibit.
The exhibit opened on Tuesday, May 31, and will be in place through the end of this week, June 10. The information about the court case is presented on a number of panels and includes a video narrated by James Earl Jones, with an introduction by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore (the video can also be seen online at
The traveling exhibit is intended to educate the public on the role of the New York Courts in paving the way for the abolition of slavery. Through the facts of the case, individuals see how the courts helped free eight enslaved young women and children who sailed into New York harbor with their owners from Virginia. The Court of Appeals' ruling was in direct conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision of 1857, representing the most unyielding statement made against slavery by any court in the United States prior to the civil war.
The display, titled The Lemmon Slave Case: 1852-1860, A Prelude to the Civil War, began a 90-week tour in Fall 2021 and will go to the New York Judicial Institute in White Plains and Monroe County's Hall of Justice in Rochester after leaving Yates County. In total it will visit 45 courthouses.
The judges explained this was a historic case because it demonstrated how states could drive change even before the federal government embraced it. The Lemmon Case showcases the historical role of the state in upholding fundamental rights and ensuring equal justice under the law.
The display is on the second floor of the Yates courthouse building and is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All visitors entering the courthouse are required to wear a mask or face covering while inside.

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