Community Reading of Frederick Douglass' Speech, "What to a Slave is the Fourth of July"


Linden Place Museum in Bristol, RI invites the community to join a live reading of Frederick Douglass’ iconic 1852 speech “What to The Slave Is The Fourth of July” on Thursday, July 7th in the gardens of Linden Place. At this moving event, audience members are invited to join in at the podium to read excerpts from the famous speech.

Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave turned statesman, was about 34 years old when he delivered this speech to more than 500 members of the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in 1852, nine years before the start of the Civil War. The speech questioned the notion of freedom by pointing out the disparity between white Americans and the enslaved Africans and African Americans who were forced to serve them. The message, about America struggling to live up to the lofty goals it set for itself at the founding, continues to be relevant today.

The outdoor reading will begin at 6:00 pm. In the case of rain, the program will be moved to the ballroom. After the reading the community is invited to continue the conversation over light refreshments. This event is free for all to attend. A free-will donation at the door is appreciated and helps to support Linden Place programs.

The event is sponsored by BankNewport, Roger Williams University, The Town of Bristol and Rogers Free Library.

For more information and to register, please call Linden Place at 253-0390 or e-mail

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