The office of Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, the Springfield Library, and MassHumanities hosted a community reading of the fiery July 5, 1852, speech entitled "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" in which Frederick Douglass took exception to being asked to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The reading consisted of groups and individuals taking turns reading parts of the speech until all of it was read. The reading was open to the public and an invitation was extended to anyone interested to participate in the reading.
Douglass' speech remains provocative centuries after its initial reading. This event opens up discourse on race relations and citizenship, and raise awareness of the influential role slavery continues to play in our history and national discourse.