Troutbeck, in Amenia, New York, stands at the nexus of American History.  Once the private estate of Joel Spingarn, Troutbeck has been host to creative thinkers, artists and activists for centuries. It was the location of the Amenia conferences which were transformational for the Civil Rights Movement and the NAACP.

An historic hub of creativity and activism hosts a new generation of thinkers

Some of our IMS 8th graders have engaged in a year-long history project, along with students from several surrounding independent and public schools, to study change-makers both famous and lesser known, and uncover the hidden past in our area related to Troutbeck and the early Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. 

This months-long project culminated at the Troutbeck Symposium on April 28 and 29.  Students presented their research, engaged in discussion and heard reflections from guest scholars. In many ways, the symposium was a bridge between the past and the present, providing a forum for a new generation of scholars. 

The symposium began with 8th Grade representatives of the choral group, Mountain Voices, singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” by James Weldon Johnson, an early 20th century activist, teacher, poet, scholar and participant at the Amenia Conference at Troutbeck in 1933. The song was followed by IMS student Mansa A., whose research this year focused on James Weldon Johnson. Mansa shared her poem, in which she wove her original prose with lines from “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” 

Harmonies of Liberty: