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Reading Frederick Douglass Together Summer Fellowship Opportunities Announced

Mass Humanities is seeking qualified candidates for two fellowship opportunities to conduct and synthesize research on the origins of the shared reading tradition of Frederick Douglass’ influential address, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”, both nationally and in Massachusetts, as well as research the life of Douglass in the Commonwealth.

The research will be used by Mass Humanities to support the forthcoming launch of a website and national resource for Frederick Douglass readings.

Mass Humanities believes Douglass’ words belong in public spaces and has supported readings in town squares, community centers, churches, museums, libraries, and parks.

As a part of our work to advance new ideas about historical texts and connect neighbors in meaningful conversations about what it means to be a free and equitable society, Mass Humanities will create resources for Reading Frederick Douglass Together that will educate participants about the shared reading tradition, embedded in African American public memory.


The Shared Reading Tradition Fellowship

The research conducted by this Reading Frederick Douglass Together Fellow will create an account of the tradition of community readings of Frederick Douglass’s Fourth of July address, and their place within African American public memory traditions both nationally and in the Commonwealth.

Application for this fellowship are open with proposals and interviews to occur on a rolling basis from now through April 21, 2023.


The Frederick Douglass in Massachusetts Fellowship

This Reading Frederick Douglass Together Fellow will synthesize existing research and potentially discover additional information to create a comprehensive account of the historical presence of Frederick Douglass in Massachusetts; places he lived and visited, individuals and organizations that he supported, his work throughout the Commonwealth, and the impact of his time in the state on his work and life.

Drawing these connections will add to and amplify the stories that shape Massachusetts and the United States.

Application for this fellowship are open with proposals and interviews to occur on a rolling basis from now through April 21, 2023.


Each year Mass Humanities supports public readings and discussions in Massachusetts of Frederick Douglass’s famous Fourth of July address, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” through our Reading Frederick Douglass Together grant.

Each community considers the meaning of the speech in the past and its resonances in the present. This shared reading tradition began prior to the establishment of our grant opportunity, but no account of its origin or its relationship to broader African American public memory traditions exists.

Mass Humanities believes in fostering robust civic engagement and champions opportunities for all communities in Massachusetts to reinvigorate our democracy by telling, sharing, and reimagining the diverse stories and ideas of our Commonwealth—together.

The fellowship is made possible with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the initiative A More Perfect Union.

For more information contact Program Officer Latoya Bosworth at lbosworth@masshumanities.org.

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