Mayor Lydia Lavelle hosted a virtual gathering of community members for the 7th annual community reading of Frederick Douglass’ essay, "The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro."
Our Carrboro tradition premiered at 12 noon on July 4, 2020. Due to the pandemic, we visited presenters to video their portions of the reading. Some provided their own video.
In 1852, Frederick Douglass, one of our nation’s greatest orators and abolitionists, was asked to speak at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In his provocative speech, Douglass said, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”
THANK YOU to our presenters and readers: Justice Anita Earls, James Williams, Senator Valerie Foushee, Quinton Harper, Rachel Broun, Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, Mariana Rocha-Goldberg, Aaron Keck, Anthony Swann Sr., Anthony Swann Jr., Camille Swann, Robert Campbell, Fred Joiner, April Dawson, Ayanna Dawson, Chief Dave Schmidt, Niya Farrington, Victoria Fornville, Irv Joyner, Braxton Foushee, Diane Robertson, the Clark Family, Rebecca Cerese, Nichelle Perry, Chief Walter Horton, Nancy Duffner, Yinka Ayankoya, Jonathan Broun and Anna Richards.
BACKGROUND -- On July 5, 1852, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass delivered a scathing speech on slavery — its title commonly identified as “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” — that still echoes today. It took 13 years after the speech for slavery to be abolished — 89 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.