Open & Honest Events

What is it?

openhonestOpen & Honest events are public readings of civil rights speeches and other short writings followed by open conversation on race, rights and the lasting legacy of American slavery.

Open & Honest is a new spin on the popular Reading Frederick Douglass program, where public community readings of Douglass’s famous Fourth of July speech take place around Independence Day.

Who participates?

All nonprofit and government organizations can hold a one-time conversation or a series in a public space or at a public venue and sponsored by two or more organizations at any time of the year. Readings are often introduced by a historian and other scholar and/or followed by a moderated discussion.

download pdf brochureWhat does this program do?

The writings of eminent civil rights leaders offer direct access to the oratorical skills, strategic thinking and planning, and ever-evolving consciousness of 19th- and 20th-century black protest in America.
Note: Although we’re encouraging black protest writing, organizations are free to read by white allies too. For example a Boston group has chosen to read and discuss Angelina Grimke’s 1838 speech.

Where do I find a conversation?

We post readings on our calendar with all the events we are involved in or know about. Of course, you could create your own!

How do I organize a conversation?

Please contact Fran Smith to organize an event, answer questions or for support at or 617-704-0019.

Who funds it?

Mass Humanities funds Open & Honest events (along with Reading Frederick Douglass and other Civil Rights Discussion events) throughout Massachusetts through our Civil Rights Discussion grant. Applications accepted bimonthly.