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If you live in NYC and want to be physically present during the reading, that is now an option! Please RSVP by commenting on this Facebook wall post with the number of people, or use the Contact page on this site to send me an email. Otherwise, anyone in the world can tune in to this page Monday July 4th, 2011 at 1:30pm ET to experience my rendition of these great texts. RSVP to the Facebook Event, if you need a reminder or want to tell your friends.

Years ago, I became good friends with a woman who, at every 4th of July party she hosted, would perform a reading of the Declaration of Independence, just to remind people that this day was about more than fireworks and discount furniture.

This year, I was re-introduced by Twitter user @drgoddess to a speech Frederick Douglass delivered 76 years after the signing of the Declaration. Its title is "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

As America's 235th birthday approaches, this July 4, 2011, I've decided to combine influences and do performance readings of both of these documents. I will start with the Declaration. This document set the stage and the ideals and the grievances of a nation to paper, helping to launch a revolution and ultimately independence.

Then I will read Douglass's speech. Over six times the length of the Declaration, Douglass's words take you on a journey from the promise of the Declaration to the reality of Slavery and ends on a hopeful note

Approximate schedule (all times Eastern)


  • 13:30 Event officially launches
  • 13:37 Accounting for CP Time and tech shenanigans, begin reading Declaration
  • 13:47 Complete reading Declaration. Possibly take questions or a break for some tea (English Breakfast of course)
  • 13:50 Begin reading Douglass
  • 15:00 End reading of Douglass


Note, I may need to take some breaks during the Douglass speech. It is over 10,000 words!

I'll be streaming a video of this on this website. Unfortunately, Flash is required, so those of you out and about on your mobiles probably won't be able to check it out. I'll try my best to preserve the recording for archive plays.

Let me know if you have questions or suggestions. I haven't quite done anything like this before!