Welcome to Douglass Day 2019!


Thank you for your interest in our read-a-thon!

Please sign up and register your group here:

This kit provides information about how to participate in the Douglass Day 2019 Read-A-Thon on February 14th, 2019.

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions: please see our FAQ.

The kit includes the following sections:

  1. How to prepare your local event

  2. What to expect on Douglass Day, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019

  3. Suggestions about how to conduct outreach in your local community

  4. Support for a local media and communications strategy

Let’s preserve Black history and build community together!

1. Prepare your local event

1. Suggested materials:

2. Optional materials:

  • Birthday cake for Frederick Douglass (share photos with us on social media!) Bonus points for Black-owned bakeries! 
  • Drinks and chips
  • Plates, utensils, napkins, etc.
  • Frederick Douglass stickers—ordered from the site

3. Invite people to join your group! 

Please engage your local communities to join you as we celebrate Douglass Day together—especially if you are at PWIs.

4. Make some noise!

Part of the goal of Douglass Day is to share the work of engaging with and thinking deeply about history—especially Black history—more widely with our communities. Making noise about Douglass Day in your area might mean posting on social media, contacting local/student journalists, going to community meetings, churches, and more. Your institution may also have a press office whose staff can help you craft a press release and/or contacts in local media. If you would like a Press Release Template, please make sure to let us know.

2. Feb. 14 – Details for Douglass Day Read-a-thon Event, Feb. 14, 2019. 

Program and schedule: to be announced in Jan. 2019

Live stream: The Zoom live video stream will be viewable on the Colored Conventions Project social media channels. Please follow us to stay updated.

 The Read-A-Thon

We will read three texts, the 1883 speech given by Frederick Douglass at the colored convention in Louisville Kentucky, the essay written by Rosetta Douglass Sprague, Douglass’ daughter and the Frederick Douglass poem written by Robert Hayden.

Each group will have a discussion about the texts utilizing the Reading Questions for the first two texts (we will provide these prompts in January 2019.). You do not need to use the Reading Questions—they are meant to facilitate discussion only.

If your group would prefer to watch our conversation and participate by submitting comments and questions online via CCP social media please feel free!

How will I find the texts we are going to read?  

Please find links to each text here:


During the reading and discussion session we will go silent onthe live video to let people concentrate. CCP’s in-house DJ, Dr. Clay Colmon, has made a playlist on Spotify:  (Spotify account required) to be played locally as desired.

Social media:

As your groups read, share your thoughts, favorite quotes, ideas, and concepts using #DouglassDay or #DouglassDay2019 #AnnaMurrayDouglass

We hope you’ll encourage everyone to ask questions, share cool phrases/snippets, or make comments on social media. Folks from the Colored Conventions Project will be available to chat on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Our social media team will share any cool finds on the video live stream. We want to hear everyone’s voices! We always love to see great photos of history in action too!

Keep a tally of participation:

Please keep a tally of the number of people who participate in your group. Please include this on the Google Form we provided. We will collect that info after Douglass Day. These numbers help us acquire resources to support future versions of these events, so our big thanks in advance! Douglass Day 2019 + beyond! 

Douglass Day 2020 + beyond!

Our annual celebration of Frederick Douglass’ birthday and Black History Month will continue in 2020 and beyond. In 2020 we will be transcribing archival texts from the Mary Ann Shadd Cary papers and the Anna Julia Cooper papers. Please come and join us!

Do you have a project in the works that engages topics relevant to Frederick Douglass or Black History Month? If so, let’s talk! Reach us at

3. Douglass Day 2019-Suggestions for Outreach

Step 1: Identify the community groups in your area

The first step is to identify community groups in your area to invite to participate in the Douglass Day 2019 Read-a-Thon. Contacts for many of these groups may already exist in your institution. Think creatively!

  • Q – Who might like to engage with Black authors?
  • Q – Who might like to read an inspiring speech, essay and or poem written by Black activists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

If these groups aren’t yet in your contact lists, Douglass Day is a great time to reach out in new directions. Who doesn’t like an invitation to a birthday party? Please consider even inviting some of these groups to join your event as co-hosts to activate new partners at your Douglass Day and future events.

  •  Public groups: community centers, churches, libraries, senior centers, elementary schools, high schools, on-campus organizations, local social justice organizations, women’s and family shelters, historic associations, and other places where community members might gather.

  • Campus clubs and organizations: Black Students Associations, African American fraternities/sororities, National Society of Black Engineers, McNair Program, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, and Upward Bound.

  • Academic programs: African American Studies, Black American Studies, Africana Studies, and American studies departments. If your event won’t be open to the public, please make sure that any and all African American, Africana, and Black groups on your campus are invited.

  • Local African American historic groups: NAACP, Urban League, Black genealogical societies, historic homes, and museums.

Step 2: Build a relationship. Send an email or a letter, then make a phone call!

  • Once you compile your list, contact them by email with a brief note that describes your event and asks for a phone conversation. You may need to follow your note with a phone call to the directors, coordinators, or staff to invite them personally to attend your event.
  • Ask for their help in spreading the word with their circles, and if they have any suggestions for your event. Always follow emails or invitation letters with a phone call. It is a few extra steps, but that personal touch goes a long way!
  • Think about all the contacts any people in your organization might have with local schools, churches, community centers etc. Empower those people to send the invitation/press releases or flyers and to make the phone calls about Douglass Day.
  • How might working together on Frederick Douglass Day 2019 create new and substantive opportunities for meaningful exchanges? Douglass Day is an exciting opportunity to bring the broader community into intellectual conversation.  


If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to write our Douglass Day 2019 Organizing Team at: We look forward to connecting with you!





The Colored Conventions Project appreciates the support of:


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