Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters US, … and no power on earth can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States — Fredrick Douglass, July 6, 1863
Before the Fourth of July was about firecrackers and hot dogs, it was about reflecting on the state of our democracy. There may be few better ways to do so than by reading Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation* and Frederick Douglass's Fourth of July Speech, together, out loud.
One person shows up with a poster. Another with a mike. A third with a stack of speeches. Soon people line up to take turns reading paragraphs, and the public square is filled with people reading along. It can happen.
Experience the power of the word. What's your Fourth of July like?
*The Emancipation Proclamation opened the doors to black men's enlistment in the Union Army. On May 28, 1863, Douglass witnessed the departure of the 1007 men of the Massachusetts 54th regiment from Boston, he knew they were marching towards citizenship, however long and hard the march might be. It was long. And it was hard.
This program is made possible with the generous funding of Eastern Bank and The Susan A. and Donald P. Babson Charitable Foundation.
Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities 66 Bridge Street * Northampton, MA 01060 (413) 584-8440 * Fax (413) 584-8454