“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Syracuse in Onondaga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Jerry Rescue

The Jerry Rescue Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
1. The Jerry Rescue Marker
Inscription.  In 1827, the State of New York was among the first in the Union to abolish slavery. By the mid-1800's, Syracuse was known nationally as a hub of anti-slavery activity. Harriet Tubman, Gerrit Smith, the Rev. Samuel J. May, and the Rev. Jermain W. Loguen lived in the area and played historic roles helping escaped slaves reach freedom and safety in the northern United States and Canada. They organized and maintained the secret routes and hiding places known as the Underground Railroad.

Their Abolitionist sentiments were shared by many men and women in the community. When Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, a local Vigilance Committee publicly called on people everywhere to oppose it. Then-Mayor, Alfred H. Hovey, was one of the community leaders who denounced the law, as "a most flagrant outrage upon the inalienable rights of man.”

With the attention of the nation focused on the acts of civil disobedience this position might spark, the great American orator, Daniel Webster, came to Syracuse and delivered a dramatic address from a balcony overlooking City Hall. He warned the supporters of the Vigilance Committee
The Jerry Rescue Monument (<i>front/west view</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
2. The Jerry Rescue Monument (front/west view)
Click or scan to see
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of the dire legal consequences they faced in opposing the Fugitive Slave Law.

Meanwhile, William "Jerry" Henry had escaped from slavery in Missouri, and was working as a cabinet maker and cooper in Syracuse. At noon on October 1st, 1851, he was apprehended, taken before the local U.S. Commissioner, and charged as a fugitive slave. Alerted, the Vigilance Committee sprang into action. A first, disorganized attempt to free Jerry that afternoon failed. But, later that evening, a mob of outraged citizens, both black and white, stormed the jail across Clinton Street from this site, and rescued him. Jerry was hidden in the city for a few days, then spirited north along the Underground Railroad to Kingston, Ontario.

Twenty-seven people, including Loguen and eleven other black citizens, were indicted for their involvement. Enoch Reed, a black man, was the only person convicted of any crime related to the rescue; it was a minor offense, and he died before his case could be heard on appeal.

For many years afterward, Abolitionists from all over the north gathered in Syracuse on October 1st, to celebrate Jerry's rescue.
Erected 1990 by Syracuse Urban Arts Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR
The Jerry Rescue Monument (<i>southwest perspective</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
3. The Jerry Rescue Monument (southwest perspective)
African AmericansCivil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Harriet Tubman series list. A significant historical date for this entry is October 1, 1851.
Location. 43° 3.044′ N, 76° 9.2′ W. Marker is in Syracuse, New York, in Onondaga County. Marker is on South Clinton Street south of Erie Boulevard West, on the left when traveling south. Monument and marker are located beside the sidewalk at the west end of Clinton Square. The monument faces west; the marker is mounted at eye-level on the back side of the monument, facing east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2 South Clinton Street, Syracuse NY 13202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Banks of the Erie Canal (a few steps from this marker); Alexis de Tocqueville (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hanover Square (about 500 feet away); Gunpowder Blast (approx. 0.2 miles away); Onondaga Indians (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pitts Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Courier Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Daniel Webster's "Syracuse Speech" (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Syracuse.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Syracuse Freedom Trail & Underground Railroad
The Jerry Rescue Monument<br>(<i>northwest perspective</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
4. The Jerry Rescue Monument
(northwest perspective)
The Jerry Rescue Marker<br>(<i>wide view • marker is center panel</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
5. The Jerry Rescue Marker
(wide view • marker is center panel)
Monument Symbolism (<i>left panel</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
6. Monument Symbolism (left panel)
The STAR, as a light in the darkness, represents hope. Its four points are oriented to the actual points of the compass, important in fixing direction for a journey. Its elevation conveys the importance of Jerry's rescue in the history of civil rights.

The BRICK WALLS symbolize buildings or barriers, which can include or exclude. The spaces provoke interest and concern for who or what lies beyond.

The FOREGROUND FIGURES aiding Jerry represent the Rev. Samuel J. May and the Rev. Jermain W. Loguen, who did not physically take part in the event but were instrumental in arranging the rescue. They and the crowd behind them are larger-than-life to suggest that, when courage and compassion combine to influence public opinion, human life is enlarged.

The BROKEN SHACKLES Jerry wears emphasize the failure of legal authority to impose unjust restraints upon human rights or to limit human dignity.

Monument design:
BuMann Studios
Central Square, New York

Sharon BuMann/Sculptor
Copyright 1990
Monument Dedication (<i>right panel</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
7. Monument Dedication (right panel)
This project was made possible by the support of the
Mayor Thomas G. Young

Governor Mario M. Cuomo
Senator Tarky Lombardi, Jr.


Anheuser-Busch, Inc. • Atlas Fence, Inc. • Barnes & Cone, Inc. • Bartran & Associates • Bock Brick, Inc. • Chappell's • Donald W. Clark • Suzanne M. Congel • The Edgewater Companies • Lora S. Flanagan • IBEW Local 43 • Key Bank of Central New York • Lenweaver Design • Mayor's Minority Affairs Council • McConnell Construction Corp. • Edward McNeil • OBG Technical Services, Inc. • O'Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc. • O'Connor Memorial, Inc. • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Chi Pi Chapter • Paragon Supply, Inc. • Parratt-Wolff, Inc. • Randall Electric, Inc. • James Ross & Son Cont., Inc. • Santaro Industries, Inc. • Syracuse Teachers Association • Taylor Rental Center • Andrew Von Deak •
Richard N. Wright, II

Chester Whiteside, Founder/Co-Chairperson
Rodger Mack, Co-Chairperson
Linda Joanne Clark • Thomas R. Kennedy • David Krietor • David E. Lenweaver • Cheryl Wilkins-Mitchell • Vicki B. Quigley •
Henry Schramm

A project of the Syracuse Urban Arts Commission
Unveiled August 10, 1990
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 224 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 3, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 4, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Aug. 19, 2022