MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- Mayor Richard Thomas and the City of Mount Vernon will hold a celebration commemorating the 225th anniversary of the final ratification of the Bill of Rights, on Monday, Dec. 19.
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution were ratified on Dec. 15, 1791.
Thomas will be joined by County Executive Rob Astorino, representatives from the offices of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and other dignitaries.
"Mount Vernon is a city of firsts," Thomas said.
We are the birthplace of the Bill of Rights, one of the nation's first roads at Route 22 and the creators of hip-hop. Mount Vernon has always been a place where people stood up for what is right, from John Peter Zenger in 1733 to Denzel Washington today.
We look to our Rebecca Turner, who broke free from slavery to become one of the first African-American property owners in the country; Nina Simone, whose potent protest music was banned by radio stations fearful of confronting discrimination; Humphrey Bogart, who joined the Committee for the First Amendment to protest the unconstitutional House Un-American Activities Committee.
Mount Vernon has always taken the lead in standing up for what is fair, what is right and what is just. As mayor, I will continue to stand firm and stand up for Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon is also home of the sister to the Liberty Bell.
The celebration will be in St Paul's Church, which in 1733 was a polling site during a controversial, tumultuous election, where some voters were prevented from voting.
Zenger's New York Weekly Journal covered the irregularities of corrupt officials involved with election tampering and regularly wrote articles criticizing the colonial governor.
He was arrested and prosecuted for libel. One of his lawyers was the well-known Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Hamilton, and their defense -- novel at the time -- was that, although they admitted Zenger had published the articles, the facts they contained were true.
Zenger's not-guilty verdict helped lay the groundwork for the freedom of the press, which became enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
The celebration will be from 4-6 p.m., at 897 S. Columbus Ave. RSVP by 9 a.m. on Monday, by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 914-665-2360.
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