‘What to the slave is the 4th of July?’: James Earl Jones reads Frederick Douglass’s historic speech

On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.”

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In a Fourth of July holiday special, we hear the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.” He was introduced by Zinn.

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