Join us for a tribute to George Mason on Dec. 11

The Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro chapter, announces a tribute to George Mason, founding father and author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the model for the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.

On Mason’s birthday — Sunday, Dec. 11 – we will travel to the George Mason Memorial in Washington, D.C.’s West Potomac Park, followed by lunch, then a tour of Mason’s plantation home, Gunston Hall in Lorton, Va. At the memorial, SPJ chapter leaders will place a wreath, followed by a brief talk about Mason by National Park Service rangers. At Gunston Hall, participants will see a short film about Mason, followed by a guided tour.

Mason is sometimes called the “forgotten founder,” because he refused to vote for or sign the Constitution because it lacked a Bill of Rights. Mason’s call for abolishing slavery under the Constitution left him an outcast among Southern political leaders. The Virginia Pro chapter gives an annual award named for Mason to a someone who has made a lasting contribution to journalism in the commonwealth.

Transportation from Richmond will be by carpool, leaving at 8:30 a.m. sharp and returning around 6 p.m. Other SPJ members and friends are invited to meet up with the Richmond group at the Mason Memorial.

The group will stop at a restaurant (for lunch on your own) en route back to Gunston Hall. Admission to Gunston Hall is normally $9 ($8 with an online coupon printed from www.gunstonhall.org/visit/coupon.pdf), but we expect to enjoy an even cheaper group rate — participants will pay individually for admission. Ridesharing is encouraged, and passengers are asked to make contributions to their driver for gas.

SPJ Virginia Pro will coordinate rides from Richmond. RSVPs by all participants are required by Dec. 8, so that adequate restaurant arrangements and tour guides can be arranged. Contact Brian Eckert (brian_eckert@juno.com; 804-560-3056) for more information and RSVPs.