Reading Frederick Douglass Together,
July 9 at the Bacon Free Library
Text courtesy of Mass Humanities and Tod Dimmick
The Eliot Church, Bacon Free Library, and Natick Historical Society are co-sponsoring “Reading Frederick Douglass Together” on Sunday, July 9, at 5:00 PM on the grounds of the Bacon Free Library at 58 Eliot Street, Natick (Eliot Church Sanctuary, 45 Eliot St., in case of rain). The event will be free and open to the public, and participants are invited to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy on the grounds and to continue the discussion after the reading.
Mass Humanities coordinates annual public readings of Frederick Douglass’ famous Fourth of July address, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” with communities and organizations around the state. People take turns reading parts of the speech until they have read all of it. A wide spectrum of civic, cultural, and service organizations each commit to staging their own readings and collaborate with Mass Humanities to put on the event.
Douglass’ speech remains provocative centuries after its initial reading. These events open up discourse on race relations and citizenship, and raise awareness of the influential role slavery continues to play in our history and national discourse. “We are proud to participate,” stated Aaron Dougherty, Executive Director of the Natick Historical Society. “American history is almost inextricably bound up with the subject of race, and continued discussion on race relations requires historical context. Douglass’s famous address is a reminder that although race relations in the United States have improved since the 19th century, the work is not yet over and the conversation continues.”
Meena Jain, Director of the Bacon Free Library, believes that the event is also valuable to the community because it is jointly organized with other local groups. “Libraries value their role as places of discussion, learning, and discovery,” she said. “And in our community, we are fortunate to have many other partner organizations that share these ideals.” Rev. Dr. Adam Tierney-Eliot, pastor at the Eliot Church in Natick, agrees. He said, “Now more than ever, people want and need, opportunities for civil discourse and historical context. An event like Reading Frederick Douglas Together is perfect and timely.”
All are welcome to this community gathering. There will be information available on site for participants interested in reading. Anyone who knows now that they’d like to read is invited to contact the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can be found at http://masshumanities.org/programs/douglass/