CARRBORO, N.C. -- The Town of Carrboro held its eighth annual Frederick Douglass Community Reading under the old elm tree outside Town Hall on July 4, 2021.
Reading Frederick Douglass brings people together to read aloud Frederick Douglass’ speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"
The speech was first delivered in 1852, in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. The themes addressed in the speech still resonant with Americans more than 150 years after they were written. Now more than ever, the speech forces us to reckon with the legacy of slavery and the promises of democracy. It took 13 years after the speech for slavery to be abolished — 89 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
“This historic reading, with remarks by Cheri Beasley, was beautifully placed this year in front of Carrboro’s Town Hall,” said Mayor Lydia Lavelle. “Our community reading of this speech by Frederick Douglass has become a July 4th staple in our town. Every year we see familiar faces attending, as well as many new ones.”
Providing opening remarks for the program was former NC Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, the first African American woman to serve as chief justice of the NC Supreme Court. Currently, Justice Beasley is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
Thank you to our readers: Valerie Foushee, Quinton Harper, Mandy Carter, Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, Vicki Cruz, Aaron Keck, Tiffany Palmer-Lytle, Wanda Hunter, Robert Campbell, Irv Joyner, Sophie Suberman, Soteria Shepperson, Dave Schmidt, Delores Bailey, Jacquie Marx, Andrew Dawson, Chris Atack, Lori Clark, Rebeca Cerese, Alicia Stemper, Danita Mason-Hogan, Jonathan Broun, Dawson, Tye Hunter and Ted Shaw.