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Reading Frederick Douglass Together, July 5

July 5, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Reading Frederick Douglass Together

Reading Frederic Douglas Together banner

On July 5, 1852, abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke in Rochester, New York about the hypocrisy of a nation celebrating its freedom when millions of its people were bound by slavery. Through his speech, Douglass held up a mirror to the nation’s values, emphasizing the cruel irony of the independence day celebration.

The injustice that still simmers in our country makes the Frederick Douglass speech as relevant today as it was in 1852.

The Social Justice Committee of Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton & Upton has organized local nonprofits to gather people of all backgrounds and ages on Grafton Common to experience the moving words of Frederick Douglass’ famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

The event will be held on July 5, 2018 on Grafton Common beginning at 5:30 pm. (Rain location; Apple Tree Arts, 1 Grafton Common)

Those attending the event are encouraged to bring a picnic. Event organizers will provide lemonade, water, and desserts.

5:30 – Gathering / Bring your own picnics, chairs, blankets /  Water, lemonade and cookies provided

5:45 – Blackstone Valley Community Chorus, with Apple Tree Arts Community Chorus and UUSGU Choir, Diane Pollard, Music Director

Musical selections:
• The Battle of Jericho             African-American Spiritual, arranged by Moses Hogan
• Wade in the Water                African-American Spiritual, arranged by Rob Dietz

5:55 – Welcome and Introduction to Frederick Douglass

6:00The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro – Communal Reading

6:45 – Discussion Groups  /  Leaders: Donna Maria Cameron, Edward O’Donnell, Rev. Daniel Gregoire

7:30 – Adjourn

Event Partners:

Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton & Upton

Grafton Historical Society

Grafton Public Library

Friends of the Grafton Public Library

Apple Tree Arts

Event Sponsors:


Homefield Credit Union

Savers Bank

Stop and Shop

Mass Humanities

Mass Humanties logo

Download Event Poster (PDF)


Rest rooms: Grafton Public Library and Apple Tree Arts


July 5, 2018
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm