a large group of people of all ages listening to a reader under a shady grove of trees

2023 Frederick Douglass Community Reading


Commemorate Independence Day with a reading of Frederick Douglass' powerful Fourth of July address, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July." This is a participatory community reading!

We will provide copies of the speech to all attendees. Every year, 60 volunteers sign up to read passages from this speech, in front of the slave dwellings at Horton Grove. You may sign up as a reader when you arrive.

Douglass delivered this powerful abolitionist speech on July 5, 1852 at an Independence Day celebration in Rochester, New York. Douglass' speech remains one of the most famous abolitionist texts in U.S. history. The speech resonates today, inviting all to reflect on the history of slavery, freedom, and the United States' founding ideals.

Bring a chair or blanket to sit on the grounds. The event will be outdoors, with some walking over grass and gravel. This free event will last about 1 hour, with the option to tour the original slave dwellings at Horton Grove available afterwards.