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“What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”

“What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”

Reading Frederick Douglass 150 years after the 

Emancipation Proclamation


Host Your Own Event

CLICK HERE to visit the MassHumanities website where you will find a resource guide for hosting your own event, listings of other events and background information about Frederick Douglass and this speech.

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Participate in this 5th annual public communal reading of Frederick Douglass’ remarkable speech given in Rochester, NY on July 5, 1852.


Monday, July 2, 2013, 12 noon

On the Boston Common

behind the 54th Regiment
Memorial (corner of Park &
Beacon Streets), Boston, MA


(If it rains, the meeting will take place in the State House)

“Fellow citizens, why am I called upon…

…to speak here today? 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?”

For the past several years Community Change has gathered people for a Brown Bag Luncheon around the 4th of July to do a communal reading of an abridged version of  Frederick Douglass’ remarkable speech: What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?  We come together to reflect on the meaning and implications of this July 5, 1852 speech for the present day.

Five years ago we began a collaboration with the organizations listed on this flyer to expand this event and have readings hosted throughout the state.  Last July, over 200 people participated in our kickoff event in the Boston Common and events were held in Worcester, Springfield, Lynn and several other locations.

This year, as we mark the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation,  we invite you to  join us once again on the Boston Common to read and listen to Douglass’ words and reflect on their significance for the present day. This event is one of several being held across the state!



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