Frederick Douglass and Beyond

Community conversations about race and racism.

Going Beyond Frederick Douglass

Vermont communities are now opening conversations about race and racism in greater numbers than ever before. This is hard work and requires a permanent commitment to understanding the impact of racism on Vermont and the United States.

Vermont Humanities will support communities that plan activities on these themes, such as screening Ava DuVernay’s documentary film 13th about the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration; scheduling a Vermont Humanities Reading and Discussion program focused on racism; or leading a writing workshop on privilege and race. Vermont Humanities works in partnership with many scholars, cultural workers, artists and others who can help. Get in touch with us and we can help you find the right partners for your community project.

History of the Frederick Douglass Program

Reading Frederick Douglass began as a communal reading of the speech at Brown Bag lunches at Community Change, Inc. (CCI)’s Library on Racism in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2009, CCI expanded the program through a collaboration with Mass Humanities and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School. Each year since, there has been a major event on the Boston Common as well as events throughout Massachusetts. In 2012, the Federation of State Humanities Councils awarded Reading Frederick Douglass the Schwartz Prize for the Best Overall Program. With the help of Community Changes’ former Executive Director, Paul Marcus, now a Vermont resident, Vermont Humanities brought the program to Vermont in 2014 and ran it for five consecutive summers. While we believe that we now need to go deeper, we are grateful to all the libraries and participants who made Reading Frederick Douglass a powerful experience for many over the last five years.

Vermont Humanities thanks Mass Humanities for graciously allowing us to build Vermont’s Reading Frederick Douglass program from their materials.