Senate President Spilka & Henry Louis Gates Among Those To Read Frederick Douglass on Wednesday

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In full transparency, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media.


FRAMINGHAM – Mass Humanities is hosting a virtual reading of Frederick Douglass’ poignant speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” on June 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Annually, Mass Humanities produces its Reading Frederick Douglass Together program which gathers communities together for a shared public reading. 

This year, Mass Humanities gathered critical voices from around the Commonwealth to read lines from Douglass’ speech. Participants include, among others: Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates and Annette Gordon-Reed, The Boston Foundation’s Lee Pelton, State Senate President Karen Spilka, National Endowment for the Humanities Chair Shelly Lowe, Congressman Jim McGovern, GBH’s Callie Crossley and Phillip Martin, Former Red Sox player and NESN analyst Sam Horne, and many others.

“Frederick Douglass’s words are as relevant today as they were when he stood on the balcony of Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York 170 years ago,” said Brian Boyles, Mass Humanities Executive Director. “By layering his speech on top of today’s societal issues, we’re forced to continue to reckon with America’s of slavery and the promises, to ourselves, of democracy.”

Along with the film version, more than 22 Massachusetts communities will read Frederick Douglass together to encourage public discourse about what it means to be free in America.

To register for the event, click here.


Mass Humanities, a non-profit based in Northampton, conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life throughout Massachusetts. Since its founding in 1974, the organization has provided millions of dollars in support of thousands of humanities projects across the Commonwealth. Established as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Mass Humanities is an independent programming and grant-making organization that receives support from the NEH and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as private sources.


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