Celebrate Douglass Day virtually


Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave turned abolitionist, social reformer, and orator, did not know his birthday. Instead, he chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14. Douglass Day is celebrated annually on this chosen day. Each year, people around the country gather to learn about Black history through public events and a transcribe-a-thon. (A transcribe-a-thon is a way for the public – no experience needed – to volunteer by transcribing and tagging digital collections to make them more findable and useable.) Last year the library provided space in the Technology Center so that members of the public could come together to transcribe the papers of Anna Julia Cooper, a visionary Black feminist leader, educator, intellectual, and activist. While celebrations look a little bit different this year, we invite you to get involved and learn more entirely online.

This year, you are invited to transcribe the papers of Mary Church Terrell, a civil rights activist and  the first president of the National Association of Colored Women. Terrell earned a master’s degree in education at Oberlin College in 1888, and spent part of her career as a teacher and school administrator. 

On Saturday, February 13, join two local Princeton events virtually (both require registration ahead of time from the pages below):

1 p.m.: Abolition: Then and Now, an event featuring undergraduate Princeton University students sharing their work on a virtual exhibition called “Abolition: Then and Now.”

3 p.m.: What’s in a Name? A Discussion with Princeton University and Princeton Public School Students and Teachers, an event  featuring Princeton University and Princeton Public School teachers and students reflecting on recent renamings of buildings.

And finally, if you’re feeling inspired, you can bake a birthday cake for Frederick Douglass and join the Great Douglass Day Bakeoff Contest!


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