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“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

July 7 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


The Trent House presents an outdoor reading of one of Frederick Douglass’ most famous speeches, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” during Trenton’s Liberty Week.

After escaping from enslavement in Maryland, Frederick Douglass became a leading abolitionist renowned for his eloquent oratory and anti-slavery writings. He gave this speech on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York.

In this speech, Douglass referred to the Declaration of Independence as establishing a nation committed to providing opportunity for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to all its citizens. In less than a decade, that nation was embroiled in a civil war about the legitimacy of the enslavement of people of African descent.

James Peeples, Trustee and Vice President of the Trent House Association, will read the text of Douglass’ speech. Deeply involved in the local arts and culture community, he has recorded a portrayal of Paul Robeson in his last years and most recently of Frederick Douglass. ​

Audience members will be led in singing Battle Hymn of the Republic, a marching song of the Union Army during the Civil War, and Lift Every Voice and Sing, written during the post-Reconstruction period after the war.

Depending on weather – On the Grounds or In Visitor Center


July 7
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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William Trent House Museum
(609) 989-3027
View Organizer Website


William Trent House Museum
15 Market Street
Trenton, NJ 08611 United States
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(609) 989-3027
View Venue Website