One of the 19th century’s most famous speeches, “What to the Slaves is the Fourth of July?” given by Frederick Douglass in 1852 will get a public reading again this year, the 200th anniversary of his birth. Douglass, one of our nation’s greatest orators and abolitionists, was asked to speak at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In his provocative speech, Douglass said, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” And he asked, “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?” JerriAnne Boggis, executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, a sponsor of the event with Strawbery Banke, says, “We are honored to be celebrating this great American orator with this community reading of one of his most fiery speeches ... a speech that, given the happenings in our country today, rings just as true today as it did in 1865.” Community members are invited to take turns reading portions of the speech.
What: Public reading of Frederick Douglass’ speech “What To The Slaves is the Fourth of July?”
When: Noon, Tuesday, July 3
Where: Strawbery Banke Museum Visitor’s Center, Portsmouth
More info: Public invited to listen and participate in the reading.