Reading Frederick Douglass Together — With Costumed Civil Rights Activists & Discussion
Considered one of the most daring, eloquent speeches in the English language, Frederick Douglass’s fiery 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?” challenges its audience, then and now, to consider the meaning of freedom, citizenship and patriotism.
Our event begins with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by Minute Man National Historic Park re-enactor Jim Hollister to set the background for Douglass’s speech. A representative of the Indigenous Americans sovereignty movement will give an introduction in the Narragansett language, accompanied by a drummer from the Pequot nation.
A participatory community reading of Douglass’ speech is then accompanied by costumed readers voicing different eras of civil rights activism, including:
- 1860s Civil Rights activist and Robbins House resident Ellen Garrison
- The 1960s Civil Rights movement
- 1970s Black Power movement
- The Current Black Lives Matter movement
Our event ends with a moderated audience discussion with historians. Sponsored by MassHumanities.