Frederick_Douglass_c1860sThis Friday at noon, Frederick Douglas’ famous speech ““What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” will be delivered on the Newton Centre Green by wide variety of Newton citizens – each taking a part.

The event is sponsored by Historic Newton with funding from Mass Humanities and will coincide with similar readings around the state.

Frederick Douglas was an ex-slave, a tireless and fearless abolitionist, a writer,  an agitator, but most of all an orator.  This speech, perhaps his most well known, is an incredibly powerful and deeply moving piece of writing, but even  more it’s a beautifully crafted piece of oratory meant to stir, disturb, and move people to action.  The speech was delivered in 1852 but is still relevant today.

I read it this morning in preparation for Friday’s event.  Even on the printed page this speech reaches out and grabs you, shakes you, and gets your heart pounding.


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