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Join a Douglass Reading This Summer

Events planned for June and July.

Since 2009, Mass Humanities has supported public readings of Frederick Douglass’s influential address, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” around the Commonwealth. This year, more than 20 Massachusetts communities will host events that bring neighbors together to read the speech and discuss its ongoing relevance.

The Reading Frederick Douglass Together events this summer are made possible by “A More Perfect Union,” a special initiative of the National Endowment of the Humanities designed to demonstrate and enhance the critical role the humanities play in our nation.

frederick douglass

Readings and the discussions that follow can take many formats, but each event features a group of people gathered to read portions of the speech. The reading provides an opportunity to open up discourse between community members about race, democracy, and our responsibilities to the past and to each other.

Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838 and lived for many years in Massachusetts. He delivered the Fourth of July speech on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, to the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society.

“In Massachusetts, we know that an honest reckoning with difficult chapters in our history can heal and strengthen our communities,” said Brian Boyles, Executive Director of Mass Humanities. “We need to hear and heed Douglass’s words now more than ever.”

2022 Event Schedule

June 12

Salem

Salem Athenaeum

50 Washington St.

3pm

June 18

Oaks Bluff

The Helene Johnson & Dorothy West Foundation for Artists In Need

The Inkwell Beach

10:30 am

3pm

June 19/Juneteenth

Newton

New Arts Center

Newton North High School

12:30pm

June 20

Sturbridge

Old Sturbridge Village

1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd

11 am

June 25

Sudbury

The Wayside Inn

72 Wayside Inn Rd 1

10am

June 26

Brockton

Frederick Douglass Neighborhood Association

Frederick Douglass Park

3pm

Natick

Natick Historical Society

58 Eliot St, Natick

6pm

June 30

Cambridge

Essential Partners

Virtual Event

4:30pm

Somerville

Somerville Museum One Westwood Road

Worcester

 NAACP Worcester

Worcester City Hall

455 Main St

12pm (Rain date July 1)

July 1

Boston

Mass Humanities & partners

Boston Common

Shaw Memorial Freedom Trail

12pm

July 2

Beverly

Historic Beverly

39 Hale Street

10am

Northampton

Historic Northampton with Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa’s office

46 Bridge St

11am

July 3

Lynn

North Shore Juneteenth Association

Frederick Douglass Memorial Park

6pm

Newburyport

Historical Society of Old Newbury

11 Brown Square (Garrison statue)

10am

July 4

Fall River

Greater Fall River Art Association 80 Belmont St

10am

North Andover

Friends of the 1836 Meeting House 190 Academy Road

12pm

Norwood

Old Parish Preservation Volunteers, Inc.

480 Washington St.

2pm

Plainfield

Plainfield Reads

Shaw Memorial Library

312 Main Street

10am

Springfield

Martin Luther King Family Services
Court Square

6 pm

July 5

East Falmouth

Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center, Inc
67 Davisville Road

5 pm

Sharon

Sharon Historical Society

Memorial Park Beach

6 pm

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