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.