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Berkshire Groups To Hold Frederick Douglass Readings For 4th of July Weekend

A black man in a suit sits for a portrait
George Kendall Warren
National Archives and Records Administration
Frederick Douglass

Readings of Frederick Douglass’s “The Meaning Of The Fourth Of July For The Negro” are planned in the Berkshires this weekend.

The Berkshire County Chapter of the NAACP and ROPE World are holding the readings. NAACP Chapter President Dennis Powell says the message of the speech resonates as much for Black and Brown people in 2020 as it did when it was first delivered in 1852.

“As Douglass said back then, the 4th of July, Independence Day, there were certain people that were not in a position to celebrate it," said Powell. "And when we look at what’s happening around our nation and everything now – and it’s the same with the Four Freedoms. We don’t have Freedom of Fear. We don’t have Freedom of Want.”

The series begins in Pittsfield on Saturday, continues in North Adams on Sunday, and finishes with a youth only event on Zoom Monday night.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.