For the past several years, on the Saturday before July 4, the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire has collaborated with community leaders around the Granite State to bring people together to read Douglass’ historic protest speech and to reflect on its meaning. This year, Canterbury Shaker Village (in collaboration with the Elkins Public Library) will host a local community reading in the 1792 Meetinghouse. Click here to view locations of readings from across the state.
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist and heroic orator for liberty, delivered one of his most famous speeches in which he asked, “What to the slave is your Fourth of July?” In addressing an Independence Day observance in Rochester, New York, his speech was a blistering indictment of an American idealism that ignored and accepted the inhuman treatment of enslaved African Americans as part of the country’s identity and economy. Ironically, even though Douglass’ words spoke directly to this moment in history, they still ring with an unsettling power today.
If you are interested in being one of our community readers, please contact Kyle Sandler at email@example.com.