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Watch: Reading of Douglass Speech

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Leaders from around Massachusetts read “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

As part of this year’s Reading Frederick Douglass Together events, Mass Humanities produced a virtual reading of Douglass’ speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”


Participants include, among others: Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates and Annette Gordon-Reed, The Boston Foundation’s Lee Pelton, State Senate President Karen Spilka, National Endowment for the Humanities Chair Shelly Lowe, Congressman Jim McGovern, GBH’s Callie Crossley and Phillip Martin, Former Red Sox player and NESN analyst Sam Horne, and many others.

The video was produced in partnership with HEARD Strategy and distributed in partnership with The Emancipator.

Mass Humanities thanks all of the participants for the contributions:

L’Merchie Frazier – Museum of African-American History Boston/Nantucket

Keith Motley – Urban League

Melany LaRoe – Springfield Public Schools

Edmund Barry Gaither – National Center for Afro-American Artists

Callie Crosley – GBH

Danielle Allen – Author and Political Theorist

Daunasia Yancey BLM Boston

Liz Duclos-Orsello – Mass Humanities, Salem St. University

Leo Hwang – University of Massachusetts Amherst

Barbara Burgo – Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum

Byron Rushing – Former MA State Representative

Sam Horn – Red Sox, NESN

Phillip Martin – GBH

Shelly Lowe – National Endowment for the Humanities

Lindsay Sabadosa – MA State Representative

Elijah Langston Floyd – Chicopee Public Schools

Justin Hurst Springfield City Council At-Large

Jerry Ayantola – Worcester Public Schools

Karen Spilka – MA Senate President

Henry Louis Gates, Jr – Author and Historian

Imari Paris Jeffries – King Boston

Michael Bobbitt – Mass Cultural Council

Jim McGovern – Congressman

Julia Meija – Boston City Council At-Large

David C. Howse – ArtsEmerson

Noube Rateau – Frederick Douglass Neighborhood Assoc., Brockton

Nancy Martin – Frederick Douglass Neighborhood Assoc., Brockton

Josh Garcia – Mayor of Holyoke

Yves Salmon-Fernandez – Mass Humanities, Southern New Hampshire University

Katherine Stevens – Mass Humanities

Cedric Arno – Music Mania TV

Wallace Johnson – Poet

Fran Smith – Partner, Boston Common Douglass Reading

Brian Boyles – Mass Humanities

Laoise Moore – Irish Consul General

Doneeca Thurston – Lynn Arts

Eleanor Lucia Yates – West Springfield Public Schools

Lee Pelton – The Boston Foundation

Crystal Valentine – Poet

Vanessa Unicorn – Worcester Clemente Course

Chika Offurum – PBS American Experience

David Harris – Douglass Program Co-Founder

Tre’Andre Valentine – Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

Annette Gordon-Reed – Historian

Juan Matos – Worcester Poet Laureate

Latoya Bosworth, PhD – Mass Humanities

Since 2009, Mass Humanities has supported readings of the speech in communities around Massachusetts.

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