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 1864, Frederick Douglass transformed the fight against slavery into a fight for civil rights, moving forward to claim the promise of the Declaration of Independence, founding the Civil Rights movement. “We want a country,” he said, “which shall not brand the Declaration of Independence as a lie[;] whose fundamental institutions we can proudly defend.” One hundred fifty years later, Frederick Douglass would urge us to see the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights act of 1964 as an opportunity to move forward and shoulder the responsibility for building a future, for gaining “all that the country requires.”
Co-sponsored by: Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice— Mass Humanities— Central Square Theater — Community Change, Inc. — Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights — MA Office of Access and Opportunity — Commonwealth of MA — YWCA Cambridge — New Democracy Coalition