Recognizing Douglass Day

February 14 is Douglass Day!

The annual national celebration of Frederick Douglass’s chosen birthday of February 14 runs from noon to 3 pm Eastern on the Douglass Day YouTube channel.

The online events include guest speakers, a dramatic reading, and even a birthday cake contest (see the schedule).

Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in the annual online transcribe-a-thon of important documents in Black history, which will be posted on Zooniverse on Monday.

This year, Douglass Day is partnering with the Colored Conventions Project, co-directed by P. Gabrielle Foreman (Pennsylvania State University) and former Perkins Postdoctoral Fellow Jim Casey, to feature documents from the Colored Conventions. The gatherings, held over decades in the nineteenth century, brought together thousands of Black leaders and community members to organize in their fight for civil rights.

The Douglass Day transcribe-a-thon will highlight Black women’s roles in these crucial events.

By transcribing documents, participants help to make these important resources more accessible.

Complementing the national celebration are local events across the country.

Last year, the CDH hosted a panel discussion featuring students from Professor Eduardo Cadava’s fall 2020 course, Mourning America: Emerson and Douglass. Students presented projects from their online exhibition, Abolition: Then and Now (warning: graphic content).

We also partnered with Princeton Public Library and Princeton Public Schools for a discussion surrounding the renamings of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs and Princeton Unified Middle School, previously known as the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and John Witherspoon Middle School, respectively.

As we wrote at the time, the name changes occurred after students and community members brought attention to Wilson’s racist ideology and policies and Witherspoon’s history as a slaveholder.

Whereas the new name of the middle school was under discussion at the time of the panel, the Princeton Board of Education has since voted officially to rename the middle school Princeton Middle School.

In August, the Daily Princetonian reported on the controversy surrounding the renaming process. Whereas many people preferred a more generic name, others wanted to name the school after an individual.

Top of the list of potential honorees? Celebrated local African American activist Shirley Satterfield.

We hope that next February 14, we will be together again for an in-person event, but for now, we look forward to celebrating Douglass Day online!

Carousel image:

Subscribe: RSS | ATOM