Join the SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter as we mark the birthday of George Mason, principal author of the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights, at his ancestral home, Gunston Hall, on Saturday, Dec. 11.
We plan to meet at Gunston Hall, in south Fairfax County, at 1 p.m. on Dec. 11 to lay a wreath on Mason’s gravesite, discuss his relationship to freedom of the press and to our SPJ chapter, and socialize. Gunston Hall has graciously agreed to offer us complimentary admission, including all-day access to hiking trails and the rest of the grounds, all-day access to the visitor center exhibitions and a timed ticket for a guided tour of the historic area.
Although admission is free, you must register for a ticket:
(That way, we will have a headcount for refreshments.)
Gunston Hall is located at 10709 Gunston Road, Mason Neck, VA 22079. Directions are at https://gunstonhall.org/visit/guide/accessibility/
This event is especially for SPJ members and their guests. We have invited members of the Washington, D.C., Pro Chapter and SPJ’s George Mason University chapter to join us.
George Mason was born Dec. 11, 1725. The Virginia Pro Chapter annually gives its George Mason Award to “a journalist or friend of journalism of exceptional character and dedication to the craft.”
The upcoming Dec. 11 event will include a reading of Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, the basis for the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.
We also will hear from Gunston Hall staff members about new archeological research focusing on the hundreds of enslaved people who lived on the property. Since 2014, archeological, curatorial and educational staff have been working to create a picture of these enslaved individuals and what they endured in the residence of the man who wrote that “all men are born equally free and independent.”
The program will end at about 4 p.m.