Mr. Paul Miller, a historian, writer, filmmaker, and photographer from SUNY-Albany, will present on the famous abolitionist Gerrit Smith on Saturday, April 1, at 3 p.m.  Professor Smith is renowned for the documentary Searching for Timbuctoo, “the story of a little-known Black settlement in upstate New York.” The event is open to the public. A reception will precede the event.

According to his vita, “[s]ince 2019, he has served as the University at Albany’s Senior Director of Advancement Communications, after serving as Director of Marketing and Content Strategy and Director of Digital Media. Prior to joining UAlbany in 2008, Miller enjoyed a 20-year career in broadcasting and cable television. He was director of Digital Media Production for A&E Television Networks; executive producer of On-Air Marketing for the National Geographic Channel (NGC; associate creative director of Primetime Programs; and writer/producer in the on-air promotions departments for Starz/Encore movie channels and KUSA-TV in Denver, Colo. While at KUSA, Miller wrote, produced, and directed Ocean Journey, a high-definition documentary short film for a world-class aquarium.”

Gerrit Smith of Peterboro, New York, graduated from Hamilton College in 1818, valedictorian of his class. He was one of the richest men of his era and tied himself to numerous liberal causes, including women’s rights, penal reform, temperance, and antislavery.  He ran for the Presidency as minor party candidate in 1848, 1856, 1860 and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1852.  He developed a friendship with John Brown and as one the “Secret Six,” developed an ambitious plan to overturn slavery by carrying out an assault on Harper’s Ferry Armory in Virginia.  After the unsuccessful assault, fearing arrest, Smith was admitted to the New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica, today (2023) the Utica Psychiatric Center. He died in 1874.