2019 Douglass Events

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MILTON
Thursday, June 27, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass Together
Forbes House Museum, 215 Adams St., Milton

Join us for a public reading of Douglass’s Fourth of July address. Afterwards, Kevin Dua, 2017 MA History Teacher of the Year, will lead a moderated discussion. Food and beverages will be provided. Free. Co-sponsored by Courageous Conversations toward Racial Justice and Celebrate Milton!

SOMERVILLE
Thursday, June 27, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass Together
Bow Market, Somerville

Join the Somerville Museum for a public reading of Frederick Douglass’s 4th of July address. ALL ARE INVITED to read these famous words together on the day the City of Somerville celebrates the 4th of July holiday. “We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the future.” Reception and fireworks will follow.

BROCKTON
Sunday, June 30, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
We Read Frederick Douglass as a Community: One Voice, Many Languages
Frederick Douglass Community Garden, 95 Frederick Douglass Avenue, Brockton

Members of the Brockton community will assemble not far from our Liberty Tree and Underground Railroad stop to read Douglass’s iconic speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” in the language of our ancestors. Participants can access a copy of the speech online and sign up in advance using our Facebook page to choose a segment, translate it in advance and share it on the day of our reading, or simply come and spontaneously read a paragraph in English at the event. After the reading, we’ll enjoy community conversation and many delicious varieties of pie.

BOSTON
Tuesday, July 2, 12:00 PM
“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Communal Reading
Boston Common at the State House, Shaw-MA 54th Memorial

Join Mass Humanities for a public reading of Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Part of a series of statewide events supported by Mass Humanities, the reading provides an opportunity to open up discourse between community members about race, rights, and our responsibilities to the past and to each other. Members of the public will take turns reading parts of the speech until they’ve read all of it, together. Everyone is welcome to read; this event is free and open to the public.

EDGARTOWN
Tuesday, July 2, 2019, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass
Federated Church, 45 South Summer Street, Edgartown

Sixth Annual Reading of the Frederick Douglass speech “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro”, first given on 1852. Co-sponsored by the Friends of the Edgartown Free Public Library and the Federated Church, the speech will be given in the 1828 Federated Church Meetinghouse, where Mr. Douglass spoke in 1857, and site #29 on the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard.

NEW BEDFORD
Tuesday, July 2, 2019, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass In the Age of Trump
15 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford

Join the members of the New Bedford Historical Society as we read the words of Douglass Together. His thoughtful speech was a call to action in 1852 and still has incredible meaning in 2019. Call to reserve a space to read.

LOWELL
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass in Lowell
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, 8 Kirk Street, Lowell

Join us for a community reading of Frederick Douglass’s speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Invited guests and visitors may take turns reading the oration aloud. If you’d like to be a reader, or if you have a selection in mind, email. Curious about the speech? The full text can be found here: teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-of-july/

LYNN
Wednesday, July 3, 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM
9th Annual Community Celebration & Douglass Reading
High Rock Tower Park, Circuit Ave., Lynn

Come celebrate your freedom of speech with us at beautiful High Rock Tower Park! Enjoy live music, dance and spoken word at our 9th annual Community Celebration, open to all. Children get free pony rides. Bring a picnic or meet one of our food truck vendors. We will have a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’s famous 4th of July speech followed by fireworks viewed from the Tower.

PLAINFIELD
Thursday, July 4, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass and the Declaration of Independence
Shaw Memorial Library Pavilion, 312 Main Street, Plainfield

Join us for the fourth annual community reading and discussion of the Declaration of Independence and abolitionist Frederick Douglass’s 1852 Fourth of July speech in response, challenging Americans to live up to our founding principles. We will read the documents aloud, taking turns, and then we’ll talk.

NORWOOD
Thursday, July 4, 2:00 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass Together
Washington Street, Norwood

Old Parish Preservation Volunteers are hosting a reading and discussion of Frederick Douglass’s speech on the meaning of the Fourth of July. The reading will be part of the town’s July 4th celebration.

CONCORD
Thursday, July 4, 11:00 AM
Reading Frederick Douglass Together
320 Monument Street, Concord

The Robbins House is hosting a reading and discussion of Douglass’s speech on the meaning of the Fourth of July that illuminates the black freedom struggle from the Declaration of Independence through the present day.

FALMOUTH
Friday, July 5, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
What to the Negro is the Fourth of July?
Falmouth Historical Society/Museums on the Green Cultural Center, 65 Palmer Ave., Falmouth

Join us for a reading of Douglass’s famous speech, read by participants in English, Spanish, and French plus a paragraph or two translated in Portuguese and Cape Verdean Kriolu, and stay for an informal discussion afterward.

GRAFTON
Friday, July 5, 6:00 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass Together: The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro
Grafton Common, Grafton

People of all backgrounds and ages will be on the Grafton Common to experience the moving words of Frederick Douglass’s speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” The reading will be followed by discussion groups to explore the meaning and relevance of Douglass’s words today, particularly as they relate to race, gender, and immigration.

ADAMS
Saturday, July 6, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Reading Frederick Douglass Together Family Day and Community Round Table Discussion
Adams Visitor’s Center, 3 Hoosac Street, Adams

Join us for a variety of activities and programming throughout the day to provide windows into history for all ages, allowing young families, teens, adults and senior citizens alike to learn, engage, and appreciate the history surrounding Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech. From 10 am until 1 pm, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum will host fun and educational activities including a Victorian photo booth, bookmark craft, and community storytelling. Later, at the Adams Visitor’s Center, light refreshments will be available from 1-2 PM and families are invited to bring their own picnic lunches. Then from 2-4 PM, MCLA faculty and the museum director will welcome the assembly and lead the community reading of the speech, followed by a panel/group discussion and Q&A.

NORTHAMPTON
Saturday, July 6, 11:00 AM
“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Communal Reading
Pulaski Park, 240 Main Street, Northampton

Join Mass Humanities for a public reading of Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Part of a series of statewide events supported by Mass Humanities, the reading provides an opportunity to open up discourse between community members about race, rights, and our responsibilities to the past and to each other. Members of the public will take turns reading parts of the speech until they’ve read all of it, together. Everyone is welcome to read; this event is free and open to the public.

LYNN
Saturday, September 28, 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
The Unfinished Agenda of Frederick Douglass in the 21st Century
Lynn Library, Lynn

Using storytelling and critical inquiry, facilitator Francine Smith will engage the audience in a dialogue about racial justice today. She will use excerpts from “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave,” “The Origin of Others” by Toni Morrison, and excerpts from her short stories entitled “Stories I Want to Tell My Daughter.” The storytelling will present an overview of the nation’s history of white supremacy and efforts to build racial justice. The first 50 participants will receive a free copy of Morrison’s book.

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