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'Biting, Blistering And Fiery': Vermonters Recite Frederick Douglass' Fourth Of July Speech

An undated photo of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Associated Press
An undated photo of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The Vermont Humanities Council is hosting people across the state in reading Frederick Douglass' "The Meaning of the Fourth of July for The Negro" speech.

Douglass first gave the speech on July 5, 1852 in Rochester, New York.

At the Norwich Congregational Church, Lucinda Walker, one of the event organizers, gave an audience of about 25 people context for the speech before the reading.

“By all accounts his speech, which over 500 people attended, was a rousing success and led to a multi-minute standing ovation,” she said at the lectern. “The speech is often referred to as biting, blistering and fiery.”

Community members proceeded to take turns at the microphone reciting excerpts from the approximately hour long speech.

Readings are scheduled around the state through July 14, including in St. Johnsbury, Montpelier and Ferrisburgh.

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