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In the Field

Reading Frederick Douglass in Massachusetts

Experience the power of the word this Fourth of July

June 26, 2012 | By Federal/State Partnership Staff

"What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?" --Frederick Douglass, 1852

This Fourth of July, take a moment to reflect on the state of democracy at home before diving in to your hot dogs, hamburgers, and fireworks. Frederick Douglass did just that on July 5, 1852 in his pivotal speech, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro,” when he publicly took exception to being asked to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Mass Humanities is sponsoring rereadings of Douglass’ speech in Springfield, Boston, Lynn, and Worcester for Independence Day. They hope that by tracing the words of this powerful speech, community members will be able to come together to meditate, reflect, and perhaps even bond over this novel way to commemorate a national holiday. Participants can choose to read from the speech, or simply listen to others as they read.  Either way, come ready to feel inspired and connected to the community through these powerful words.

For more information and event details for specific cities, please visit Mass Humanities event calendar.

Springfield: June 28, at Museum Quadrangle

Boston: July 2, outside the State House

Lynn: July 3, at High Rock Park

Worcester: July 5, at City Hall Common