Remembering Freedom: James Clemens and the Longtown Settlement


GREENVILLE — Here is a perfect opportunity to get out of the house and learn something new. On Feb. 28, at 2 p.m., Roane Smothers will discuss the documentary that describes the life and times of James Clemens and the Longtown Settlement, a multi-racial settlement on the border of Indiana and Ohio during the 1800s.

Smothers, a former urban planner for the City of Dayton, serves as president of the Union Literary Institute Preservation Society. A descendent of Longtown’s Bass family, Smothers has done extensive research on the Longtown settlement. Smothers nominated the James and Sophia Clemens Homestead for the National Register of Historic Places.

Longtown was a predominantly African American settlement in Darke County that included people of African, European, and American Indian ancestry. The population included many freed or runaway slaves. With the establishment of a vocational school known as the Union Literary Institute, Longtown created an opportunity for African Americans to become land-owning farmers, craftsmen, skilled workers and professionals during a period when slavery and racism were prevalent.

All lectures are free and open to the public. However, regular admission will apply to tour the exhibit and museum which includes the outstanding National Annie Oakley Center and CrossRoads of Destiny exhibits. Support for the Garst Lecture series comes, in part, from the Stephens Foundation.

The Garst Museum is located at 205 N. Broadway, Greenville, OH 45331. Phone is 937-548-5250

Staff report

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