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Claire Overton and Emma McCorkindale

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In anticipation of July 4th, the Indian Orchard Citizens Council, in partnership with Take The Mic Public Speaking, hosted a reading of Frederic Douglass.

On Wednesday, the fourth annual reading of Frederick Douglass’ speech took place:What does the Fourth of July mean to the slave?‘ and this year it was at Loon Pond in Springfield.

The event was created to share the words of Frederick Douglass from his speech on July 5, 1852. At that time, the United States was celebrating its independence, but there were still enslaved people who were not independent.

“If we don’t know our history, we are bound to repeat it, and we don’t want to repeat some of the bad parts of our history,” said Zaida Govan, president of the Indian Orchard Citizens Council.

Govan and many others in attendance told 22News that many of the speech’s positive and negative aspects are still relevant today. About 15 readers stood at the podium and read sections of the speech. The event was funded this year by grants from Mass Humanities and Mass Cultural Council.

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate station, began broadcasting in March 1953 to provide Western Massachusetts with local news, network, syndicated and local programming. Watch the 22News Digital Edition weekdays at 4 p.m. on