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Community Comes Together and Invites Public for a Reading of Frederick Douglass’ 1852 Speech

For Immediate Release: 6/26/2012 11:25 am

Worcester, MA (June 26, 2012) - The public is invited to attend a powerful, community reading of Frederick Douglass’ fiery 1852 speech, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro” on Thursday, July 5th at noon on the historic Worcester Common. The event is hosted by the City of Worcester and the Worcester Cultural Coalition and supported by the following partners: American Antiquarian Society, Jeremiah’s Inn, Higgins Armory Museum, John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Mass Humanities, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast Committee, Willis Center, Worcester Historical Museum, Worcester Public Library, Worcester Public Schools, NAACP, Worcester Unit, Worcester Women’s History Project, and the Worcester Youth Center.

The event will also include a Worcester History Walking Tour, led by the Worcester Historical Museum and the Worcester Women’s History Project, which will begin at 11:15 a.m. at the Worcester Common. Tours will depart from the performance oval on the Common at 11:15 a.m. and will return to be part of the read by 11:45 a.m. Tours are free of charge.

On July 5, 1852, Douglass, a former slave and leading abolitionist, spoke at an event in Rochester, New York, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “Fellow-citizens,” he began, “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 to-day? What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?”

Event sponsors join Mass Humanities, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Community Change, Inc., Boston African American National Historic Site, the New Bedford Historical Society, and many others, in this statewide event. The text of this speech, as well as accompanying materials, is available online at the Mass Humanities Web site,

The event is partially funded by a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the event, you can contact Victoria Hall at or 508-799-1400 ext. 244.

City of Worcester
Worcester 311
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: 311
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