On July 5, the Vermont Humanities Council hosted an event at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston to commemorate the 1852 “Fourth of July” speech delivered by escaped slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Born into slavery in Maryland, Douglass learned to read and write, studied the Bible and came into contact with the abolitionist movement. At age 20, he escaped to freedom by boarding the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad line (P.W.& B.) and traveling to the northern cities, where he became a powerful orator, writer, statesman and ideological founding father of the early Republican Party.
On July 5, 1852, while in Rochester, New York, Douglass gave his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” In it, he questions how America can celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence while the document’s ideals were not yet realized for so many Americans.
In this episode of CCTV Channel 17’s “Veritas” program, host Patricia Crocker and True North Reports opinion editor Robert Maynard discuss the Douglass speech and examine its ongoing relevance for America and the struggle for freedom.