Reading Frederick Douglass

Reading Frederick Douglass

Reading Frederick Douglass

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, Bennington Free Library, 101 Silver Street, will host a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’ fiery 1852 speech, ‘The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro.’ Members of the community are invited to take part in the reading, which will be followed by discussion and refreshments. Douglass, a former slave and leading abolitionist, begged the race question at an event on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, N.Y., commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “Fellow-citizens,” he began, “Why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?” This Vermont Humanities Council event invites thought and discussion about race and citizenship more than a century and a half later. The text of the speech and accompanying materials are available at vermonthumanities.org. For more information, visit benningtonfreelibrary.org or call 802-442-9051.

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