The Public Humanist

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Why We Read Frederick Douglass Aloud

We reached out to five people actively engaged in organizing their community’s Reading Frederick Douglass event to get their thoughts on why we read his words aloud. Enjoy!


A Great and Difficult Progressive: W.E.B. Du Bois of Massachusetts

Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Levering Lewis’s speech at the State House commemorating the 150th birthday of sociologist, philosopher, and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois.


Freedom Is Not Free: Examining the Abolition Process in Zanzibar

Zanzibar's Stone Town was host to one of the world's last open slave markets, now memorialized by this artwork that utilizes original slave chains.

In challenging the notion of abolition as the final chapter in a history of slavery, we illuminate the lives of those on the periphery of history whose stories and experiences often go unnoticed.


Community Bonds Cannot Be Broken

Families and children who fled violence in Central America during a surge of migration in the summer of 2014 are being targeted by ICE. What are their stories?


From Pail to Parlor: Hitting it out of the Park

Viola Davis’ headline-worthy comments at the Emmys are rooted in a history of black women challenging power.


Grants Support New Plaques on Abolitionist History in Northampton

New historic markers at Northampton sites related to the abolitionist history of the city have been erected in three sites, made possible in part by a grant from Mass Humanities.The fruition of this project follows on the heels of an extensive research process, which began witha 2011 Mass Humanities Scholar in Residence Grant that brought historian Bruce Laurie to Historic Northampton to glean from its collection and other local resources the largely ignored story of abolitionism in downtown Northampton.