Library event, exhibit honor Frederick Douglass

Students join in national "transcribe-a-thon,' as extended legacy of noted orator, reformer and former slave explored.

February 14, 2020
By Ashley DeLeon '23
douglass exhibit items

Items from the library’s Douglass Day exhibit.

An exhibit recognizing the notable achievements of Frederick Douglass – an escaped slave who became a prominent figure in African American history as a social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and statesman — was on display at the Durick Library on February 10 from noon to 3 p.m.

Douglass Day typically is celebrated on February 14 throughout the U.S. to honor Douglass’ birthday, but due to the February Break, the library implemented an early celebration. Despite never knowing his actual birthdate as was common among slaves, he decided to celebrate each year on February 14, according to the exhibit.  In commemoration, the library had on display a series of documents available for transcription “including poems, correspondences, plays, manuscripts, notes, and other published materials by Anna J. Cooper,” according to Anthony Bassignani 13, Durick’s research and instruction/circulation librarian and a contributing organizer for the event.

students transcribe closeup

Students transcribe at Durick on Douglass Day.

Maura D’Amore, director of American Studies, has played a significant role in initiating and carrying forth this exhibition, which included as in past years a participatory transcription project relating to Black history and Douglass’ continuing legacy that faculty, staff or students could join in, along with others nationwide at other sites. Collaborating with the Durick Library staff, D’Amore and other faculty and students have hosted this occasion for three consecutive years. Based on positive response and strong participation, they anticipate forthcoming years of similar programs in honor of Douglass’ legacy.

anna julia cooper bio

Information from the exhibit about Anna Julia Cooper.

Starting in 2017, the Colored Conventions Project resuscitated the Frederick Douglass Day festival as a yearly day for safeguarding Black history. Every year, an alternate assortment of a digital archive is chosen for transcription during a transcribe a-thon. This year, the Colored Conventions Project picked the Anna Julia Cooper Digital Project as the concentration for interpretation. Anna Julia Cooper (1858 – 1964) was a visionary black female leader, instructor, activist, and scholar. Born into slavery in 1858, she became the fourth African American woman to acquire a doctoral degree, earning her PhD in history from the University of Paris-Sorbonne.

Follow us on social.