Graphic Enterprises - Home of the Pioneer Times USA - A Web Site for Living History

Pioneer Times USA


Historic Site in Journalism
Recognition Ceremony for
White Hall
State Historic Site

Richmond, Kentucky        
Tuesday April 12, 2011       By Kathy Cummings      

Cassius Marcelus Clay was many things. But in April 2011 he and his home White Hall were honored as a historic site in Journalism. That is because Clay, published an anti slavery newspaper called The True American. Although he was born in Kentucky, son of Green Clay, a wealthy land owner who held many slaves, Cassius formed his own opinions. He was educated at Yale and there began his life long crusade as an emancipationist. He served 3 terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives until his anti slavery views kept him from reelection. In 1845 he began publishing The True American in Lexington, Kentucky.

Always flamboyant, always outspoken, Clay was prepared when the citizens of Lexington got a court injunction to shut down the press. He was known to always carry 2 pistols and a knife for self defense. His office was protected by 2 cannons. His operation was moved to Cincinnati, where he continued to publish the paper until 1847.

Clay also served in the Mexican War, was an ambassador to Russia in the Lincoln administration and lived until the age of 92.

But it is for supporting the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech that the Society of Professional Journalists bestowed this owner on White Hall - The Home of Cassius Clay. The nomination was originally prepared in the 1980’s by Eastern Kentucky University Professor Libby Frost. The proposal was not immediately accepted and got tucked away. It was recently uncovered and resubmitted by Eastern Kentucky’s SPJ advisers, Dr. Liz Hansen and Dr. Deborah T. Givens.

White Hall received the honor as only the 99th site so named in the nation and only the 2nd named site in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The ceremony was attended by members of the Society of Professional Journalists, Members of Eastern Kentucky University and representatives of The Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Hagit Limor a journalist from Cincinnati’s WCPO TV is the current SPJ President. She spoke at the ceremony and made the presentation of the plaque. EKU students and SPJ members Laura Butler and Lindsay Huffman co-chaired the event.

Historic Site In Journalism

White Hall - Home of Cassius M. Clay, publisher
of an anti-slavery newspaper, The True American.

Cassius Marcellus Clay began publishing and anti-slavery newspaper in Lexington - the heart of pro-slavery Bluegrass Kentucky - on June 3, 1845.

The True American was founded after Clay’s letters on controversial issues were not published in other newspapers. “So long as there is one thing in a nation which cannot be discussed - there is no freedom of speech or the press in that nation,” Clay later wrote.

In August 1845, a committee of Lexington citizens received a court injunction forbidding the newspaper’s publication on the grounds that “no abolition press ought to be tolerated in Kentucky.” A mob seized Clay’s printing office, packed up press, type, and equipment and delivered them to the railroad depot.

Clay continued to publish The True American in Cincinnati, with a Lexington dateline, for more than a year. He later filed a lawsuit against the citizen’s committee and was awarded $2,500.

The Society of Professional Journalists honors publisher Cassius M. Clay with this plaque and the designation of his home, White Hall, as a historic site in journalism.


Marked this 12th day of April 2011.


Click Here to see a Newsreel of The Day’s Events.

web page hit counter


Society of Professional Journalists 2010-2011 President Hagit Limor


The Rev. Charles Herrick, a great great grandson of Cassius M. Clay and Mrs. Sallie Clay Lanham. also a great great granddaughter of Cassius M. Clay represented the Clay Family Society. They are pictured with Hagit Limor. President of The Society of Professional Journalists.


Dr. Liz Hansen with Cassius M. Clay (portrayed by Mel Hankla) stand near the plaque while Professor Deborah T .Givens speaks with Al Smith a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists.


Filmmaker Michael Breeding was also on hand for the ceremony. Breeding is currently filming the Life of Cassius Clay and poses here with Mel Hankla who will portray an older Cassius Clay in the movie. Although a release date has not been set Breeding hopes to have the film air on KET later this year.

The Photo Gallery of Events

18th Century Living History Events

Fort Boonesborough Events

19th Century Living History Events

Civil War Living History Events

Timeline Events

Indoor Trade Events

Museums, Workshops, Schools and Other Events