Skip to Main Content

In 2011, while writing his soon-to-be best-seller How To Be Black, futurist comedian, writer and cultural critic Baratunde Thurston came across a speech he should have known by then. So moved was he by the power, humor, depth, and relevance of Frederick Douglass's 1852 speech, What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?, Baratunde organized a small reading of the text in a conference room at The Onion and live streamed the performance on July 4th that summer. 

In 2016, Frederick Douglass's life and words are even more relevant. Douglass escaped slavery to fight a lifelong battle for the equality of women, Native Americans, African Americans and more. He agitated to the very end, and he was part of a long tradition of freedom fighters who demanded the United States live up to its ideals. With today's explosion of intersectional social movements around income inequality, undocumented migrants, #blacklivesmatter, LGBTQ rights, women's rights and more, it is time for a still-young nation to hear his inspiring and eviscerating words once more.

This workshop performance is very much a work in progress with the goal of more and better ahead. Consider it a "public beta" like America itself. 

It is directed by Mikhael Tara Garver and produced by her team and Baratunde.

RSVP here

If you can't make it to Brooklyn Public Library's Dweck Center for (first of all, we're sorry), stream it HERE: 


close navigation
Becoming a BPL Sustainer is the most convenient way to support free access to books, tech, literacy programs and more on a monthly basis. BPL can plan better when we know we can count on your consistent support.
Donate now