On July 5, 1852, the great orator Frederick Douglass delivered a speech on the “Meaning of the Fourth of July,” now considered one of the best speeches of the 19th century. Twelve years before the Civil War, and speaking as a man who had escaped enslavement, he pondered the meaning of celebrating independence when many were not free, were not even considered full human beings and citizens.
Join us as we listen to excerpts from the speech, and then consider together the impact of Douglass’ words not only on his audience in 1852 but on us today. How relevant are his words in today’s American culture? Our hope is that we are a place where we can have conversations about race, racism and racial justice that just aren’t happening very many places.
Honoring Black History Month: Black women were among the courageous many who opposed the institution of slavery in America and worked for its end. They fought not only slavery, but assumptions that the speaker’s lectern was an unfit place for a woman, especially if the audience was mixed men and women, and assumptions that African Americans and former slaves were not fit for mixed racial company. Hear about some of the lesser-known women abolitionists (including Frances E. W. Harper and Charlotte Forten Grimké), plus a few most have heard of and can learn more about (Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth), and their contributions to the anti-slavery movement of their day.