The Natick Historical Society invites local teens to participate in a socially-distanced community read of Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
The read will take place on Thursday, July 2 at 6:00pm on the front steps of the Morse Institute Library. Each teen will have the opportunity to read 1-3 paragraphs from the speech, which takes about thirty minutes in total to read. The event will be filmed by local cable station Natick Pegasus.
Teen readers should email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in participating.
“It feels like an important time to try to pull this together locally – and especially to give teens a real opportunity to connect with Douglass’s words and the ongoing relevance,” says Historical Society Director Niki Lefebvre.
This event is inspired by the Mass Humanities Reading Frederick Douglass program.
I happened to be lucky enough last July, during a lunch break at my job working for the Commonwealth next to the State House, to take in a good chunk of the speech reading orchestrated by the Mass Humanities program. It was truly inspiring, as a mix of state muckety-mucks and people who just happened by, stood in line on a sweltering day, grabbed a section of the speech and one-by-one went up to the mic to read their part.
Natick Historical Society’s live event is open to the public, but they’re not really encouraging a big crowd in light of health concerns. Those reading will wear masks when not reading, and will be socially distanced. The focus will be more on sharing the recording.