Recalling Frederick Douglass for a Different View on Independence
Manchester Community Library will host a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’s fiery 1852 speech, ‘The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro,’ at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 1. Members of the community are invited to take part. Douglass, a former slave and leading abolitionist, begged the race question at an event in Rochester, N.Y., on July 5, 1852, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “Fellow-citizens,” he began, “why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? What, to the American slave, is your fourth of July?”
By our hosting such events during the celebration of this nation’s independence, we invite thought and discussion about race and citizenship now, more than a century and a half later. Manchester Community Library joins the Vermont Humanities Council and Community Change in this statewide effort.
The speech and accompanying materials are available at vermonthumanities.org. The communal reading is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Manchester Community Library is located at 138 Cemetery Avenue in Manchester Center. For more information, call 802-362-2607.