Land-Grant Homecoming Scheduled in Vermont

Actor David McWilliams as Justin Smith Morrill
Actor David McWilliams as Justin Smith Morrill

The Friends of the Morrill Homestead in Strafford, Vermont—the historic home of Justin Smith Morrill, father of the Land-Grant College Acts and a framer of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—invite alumni and students of UMass Amherst and all land grant colleges to a free Land-Grant Homecoming on June 10.

The program features an appearance by Sen. Justin Smith Morrill, as portrayed by actor David McWilliams, from 2-3 p.m.

Many know Morrill as the father of the Land Grant Acts that made higher education available to people from all walks of life, but few realize he played a significant role in framing the core language of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, providing equal protection of life, liberty and property for all persons in the United States, including civil rights for freed slaves in the aftermath of the Civil War.

As Morrill, McWilliams will speak about the struggle to provide educational opportunities and equal rights for all U.S. citizens and persons in its jurisdiction and Morrill’s rise from blacksmith’s son to U.S. senator.

The event, which will be held at the Justin S. Morrill State Historic Site and National Historic Landmark, 214 Justin Morrill Memorial Highway, Strafford, Vermont, also commemorates the sesquicentennial of the ratification of the 14th Amendment

From 10 a.m-5 p.m., visitors may take free tours of the historic Morrill Home led by guides from the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. There are also self-guided tours of interpretive exhibits, formal Victorian-era gardens, the historic orchard and walking trails.


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