Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are we transcribing archival documents on Douglass Day 2019?

A: No. For Douglass Day 2019 we are holding a Read-a-thon. Details can be found here

Q: Why are we doing a read-a-thon instead of transcribing in 2019?

A: This year we want to continue the Douglass Day celebration with a focus on his own work and life, including the stories of his family, and the context of the Colored Conventions.

Through a read-a-thon we also want to emphasize collective activities that support literacy, connecting those same actions from the nineteenth century to today.

For Douglass Day 2020 we are planning a transcribe-a-thon of the Anna Julia Cooper archives as well as some of the writing of Mary Ann Shadd Cary. We will announce more about that in 2019.

Q: What is a read-a-thon?

A: A read-a-thon is a challenge to read a number of texts around a theme or for a purpose.

For Douglass Day 2019, the theme is Frederick Douglass’ life and legacy. We are reading one of his addresses to a Colored Convention in 1883, and a speech written by his daughter, Rosetta Douglass Sprague, as a tribute to her mother, Anna Murray Douglass.

Q: How do we do the readings?

A: Reading can happen alone or in organized groups and with discussions. These can be similar to a book club meeting or a reading group at a school or a library .

Q: How can I participate in the Read-a-thon for Douglass Day 2019?

A: There are several ways to participate.

You can participate as an individual reading at your own leisure before the date.

For the Feb. 14, 2019 collective read-a-thon, you can join an organized group or create your own group in advance, you can come to the University of Delaware or to the African American Museum of Philadelphia on the date, or… you can join us online.

To participate, you will need to complete our Registration Form.

Q: What will we be reading for the Douglass Day 2019 Read-a-thon?

A: We will be reading three texts: A speech, a letter and a poem. You can download them at the links below.

Q: Do I have to read all of the texts?

A: No. Read as much or as little as you like. We recommend that you read in advance of the Feb. 14th Douglass Day Celebration so that you can join in the discussion on the day.

Q: Will we be reading the texts on Douglass Day, Feb. 14th?

A: No. on February 14, 2019 we will be discussing the readings, their meaning, context, style and significance for Douglass Day.

To make the most of the Douglass Day 2019 experience, we encourage people to read the texts in advance – especially with other people, and reading aloud wherever possible. These texts were meant to be read aloud or shared through speech.

Q: I hear there is a contest for young people to participate in the Read-a-Thon and submit their own writing?

A: Yes. The “Douglass Day 2019 Words of Influence Contest” is restricted to youth ages 10 to 21 years old who reside in the greater Philadelphia area. The deadline is January 31, 2019.

Please see more information about this contest at

• FLYER Words of Influence Contest for Young Writers – pdf for email or printing

Q: How do I organize my own Douglass Day 2019 Read-a-thon group or activity?

A: We’ve got you covered! Please see our Douglass Day 2019 Read-a-thon Guide at this link:

The Colored Conventions Project appreciates the support of:


The Colored Conventions Project was launched & cultivated at the University of Delaware from 2012-2020.