Remembering Frederick Douglass During Independence Day

July 03, 1998

This weekend the nation commemorates the 4th of July, the day American colonies declared their Independence from England in 1776. While many Americans will hang flags, participate in parades, and watch fireworks, Independence Day is not a cause for celebration to all.

One of the most powerful voices of the abolition movement was Frederick Douglass. He was born a slave in Maryland in 1818. As a young boy Douglass was taught to read by Slaveholder Sophia Auld. It was a dangerous and radical act that changed his destiny. Douglass escaped from slavery in the1830s and became a leader in the growing campaign against slavery, through lectures and his anti-slavery newspaper, ??The North Star. On July 4th, 1852, Douglass delivered one of his most powerful speeches against slavery in Rochester, New York.


  • Dramatic reading of Frederick Douglass’s 4th of July Oration. Read by Bernard White of Pacifica station WBAI in New York.