The Arkansas Tech University Department of History and Political Science, the ATU College of Arts and Humanities Office of the Dean and Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center will host a Douglass Day 2024 event on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
It will take place from noon-2 p.m. in room 300A of Pendergraft Library, 305 West Q Street in Russellville. Admission will be free and open to the public.
The highlight of the gathering will be a transcribe-a-thon featuring the correspondence of Frederick Douglass from the U.S. Library of Congress. The event at ATU is part of a nationwide effort to transcribe 8,731 pages of Douglass’ correspondence in one day.
“This collection is extraordinarily rich,” reads a description of the event at https://douglassday.org. “It includes public letters, intimate family moments and much more. These letters show us the many versions of Frederick Douglass across so many parts of his long and storied lifetime fighting for Black rights and citizenship.”
Douglass was born into slavery in February 1818 in Maryland. After escaping in 1838 and seeking freedom in Massachusetts, he became a noted abolitionist, orator and author. He advocated for emancipation and the subsequent guarantee of equal rights and protections as American citizens for the formerly enslaved.
His work contributed to the creation and ratification of the 13th Amendment (abolished slavery), the 14th Amendment (national birthright citizenship) and the 15th Amendment (equal voting rights regardless of race, skin color or previous servitude) to the U.S. Constitution.
After serving in a variety of appointments under five U.S. presidents during the post-Reconstruction era, Douglass died on Feb. 20, 1895, at the age of 77.