• Jul 2, 2012

The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro: 4th Annual Communal Reading of a Lecture by Frederick Douglass

  • 12:00 PM
  • Boston Common, Across from the State House, Boston, MA

Fellow citizens, 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 today? What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?

In his fiery July 5, 1852 speech, known both as “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro” and “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” Frederick Douglass famously took exception to being asked to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. What brought him to this moment? What did he try to achieve? Was he un-patriotic or ultra-American? Did he actually dissociate himself from American citizenship or embrace it with this speech? It behooves us to read the speech and learn.

Join us in a shared public reading of this masterful and rousing speech. Rain or shine! (If it rains, the reading will take place in the State House.)

Collaborating organizations: Boston African American National Historic Site — Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice — Community Change, Inc. — First Church Boston — New Democracy Coalition — New England Area Conference, NAACP — Massachusetts Black Empowerment Coalition — Office of Access and Opportunity, Commonwealth of Massachusetts — Boston NAACP — Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts — Commonwealth Compact — Museum of the National Center of Afro American Artists — YWCA Boston

For more information: http://masshumanities.org/douglass