Highlands resident Wendy Joseph has announced that the 8th Annual Reading of Frederick Douglass’ Speech will be held on July 3 at 6 p.m. at High Rock Tower Park on Circuit Avenue.
Last year’s event drew a record crowd of more than 600 people.
“We think this event is very special because it’s part of the yearlong observance of Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday celebration in Lynn,” said Joseph.
Douglass was a social reformer, orator, statesman, and author who wrote the book, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” during the winter of 1844-45. He signed the last page with “Lynn, Mass., April 28, 1845.”
Joseph said the event is made possible through a grant by the Mass. Humanities agency.
Mayor Thomas McGee, Council President Darren Cyr, and Associate DPW Commissioner Lisa Nerich have been very supportive of the event, according to Joseph. Calvin Anderson is a member of the planning committee.
The Lynn Police met with Joseph this week to coordinate safety for the event. The Lynn English JROTC will assist at the event.
Joseph is the founder of the Douglass Speech event in Lynn.
“At the Beverly Historical Society I met Liz Duclos-Orsello and she suggested I contact Mass Humanities for our Reading of the Frederick Douglass Speech event,” recalled Joseph.
Joseph has turned the speech-reading in to a community celebration and family-friendly, fun event in the Highlands. The first speech-reading event drew 20 people, but the crowds have grown steadily in each year.
“I’m just a history lover,” said Joseph, who attended Bellingham High School (Class of 1980) and graduated from Salem State University with a degree in Theatre Management. She is an art director for television commercials. “What Frederick Douglass spoke about then still resonates today.”
Forty-five guests at the event will read a one-minute passage from a Douglass speech.
Joseph said there will be free pony rides for children, musical presentations, and poetry readings by Lerner Roberts and Cherish Casey. There will be two food trucks from IronBound Food Truck Emporium available for refreshments.
Joseph said that after the event, many guests stay and view the Lynn fireworks display from the vantage point of the High Rock Tower.