Frederick Douglass poster

Frederick Douglass “speaks” – a different take on the Fourth of July

July 3 at 5:00 pm at the Aldrich Public Library

In 1852, the day after the usual 4th of July razzmatazz and patriotic speeches celebrating the Declaration of Independence and birth of the United States, by invitation of the Rochester Anti Slavery Sewing Society, Frederick Douglass provided another more qualified view of the birth of the nation.

Aldrich Public Library
Aldrich Public Library

A public community reading of his famous speech, later published as The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro (full text in PDF format), is being hosted by the Aldrich Public Library (on the front steps, weather permitting), 6 Washington St, Barre, VT. The Barre Historical Society is a co-sponsor of this event along with other Barre civic and religious organizations. Unlike Douglass’s own speech, this year his words will precede Independence Day, on July 3.

Paul Marcus, racial equity educator, will introduce the speech. Community members will read the speech aloud together and then discuss together the speech’s significance historically and today regarding equality, citizenship, and patriotism in America. Copies of the speech will be provided.

This is part of a series of readings around the state (sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council) and around the country.