Upcoming and Recent Events

Thomas Paine Birthday Celebration

 January 29, 2024

Every January 29th the official birthdate of Thomas Paine is recognized and celebrated. The theme for the 2024 event is The Anti-Slavery Efforts of Thomas Paine. The event starts at 4:00 PM PST/7:00 PM EST. Pre-registration for Paine’s birthdate celebration is required. Below is the event registration link:


Sponsors of the 2024 event are the Secular Coalition for America, Black Nonbelievers, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, the Thomas Paine Memorial Association (TPMA), and the Freethought Society.

With this celebration of Thomas Paine coming at the end of January, we are preparing for Black History Month by focusing on his abolitionist work.

Actor Ian Ruskin will present a letter that Paine, posing as a slave, wrote to Thomas Jefferson. Paine wrote using this persona in order to emphasize the urgency in ending the practice of slavery.

The letter reveals Paine’s insight into the immorality of slavery and his frustration about Jefferson doing nothing to stop it. Jefferson was President at the time. Paine thought that Jefferson should do something — anything — to stop the slave trade and took the President to task for continuing to be the owner of human beings.

The 1808 letter (written 7 months before his death) will shock and amaze the January 29th audience. Paine’s words reveal a frustrated and angry abolitionist who had lost patience with those who participated in the debauchery. Paine stood for equality like no other Founding Father and more people should know his legacy.

Event planners Margaret Downey (TPMA president) and Christopher Cameron (TPMA board member) have enlisted the voices of Black leaders, social influencers, educators, politicians, celebrities, and others who are impressed with Paine’s foresight and warnings of civil unrest to end slavery. 

There are a total of four parts to the Slave Letter. Following is a list of some of the scheduled commentators who will appear after each letter segment. More commentators will be added as they are confirmed. 

Ty Barnett

Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY 16th District)

Congresswoman Shontel M. Brown (D-OH-11th District)

Victor Harris

Dom Jones

Wil Jeudy, MD

Richard Newman

Dr. Anthony Pinn

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8th District)

Teddy Reeves

Mandisa Thomas

Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-IN 5th District)

Musical performances by Cynthia McDonald will open and close the event. McDonald is a social worker, author, public speaker, podcaster, musical artist and freethinker. She is a member of the Godless Gospel. A variety of her music performances can be found at the following link:

A post-event social hour will allow audience participation. Sculptor Zenos Frudakis will join us from his Glenside, Pennsylvania studio to show us his clay statue of Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine expert Gary Berton, President for the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, will be in attendance to answer questions. 

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