The Town of Easton and the Frederick Douglass Honor Society invite you to celebrate F Douglass’ life and his powerful legacy during Frederick Douglass Day on Saturday, September 27. The celebration will feature a parade with bands, keynote address by renowned Douglass scholar, musical performances, children activities, food and retail vendors, a tour of “The Hill,” a historically-oriented scavenger hunt, oral history interviews and a free screening of “Twelve Years a Slave”.
Born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland, Frederick Douglass became an eloquent author, human rights activist, teacher, and writer. His bronze statue, erected in front of the Talbot County Courthouse on June 18, 2011, continues to inspire thousands of visitors each year.
The day’s activities will begin with a parade. At 10:45 a.m., the Frederick Douglass Day parade will form on Glenwood Avenue, then march to West Street and Federal Street, ending at the Frederick Douglass statue at the Talbot County Courthouse lawn at about 11:15am. Eric Lowery, president of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, will welcome attendees, present musical peformances, and a reading by the winner of the Frederick Douglass Essay contest.
“Frederick Douglass and African American history is part of us all,” Mr. Lowery said. “We hope the community and visitors will enjoy this incredible day of learning, celebration, and entertainment. One of my favorite Douglass quotes is ‘… it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’”
Easont’s Mayor Robert Willey echoed those remarrks. “We hope Frederick Douglass Day will inspire young children as they learn about his life and his challenges.”
Afterward, participants will stroll to the event’s central location on Dover Street, in thr parking lot next to the Talbot County District Court building. There will be live entertainment, food and retail vendors, and a knowledge village, where exhibitors from various organizations will share information on their missions and their histories.
From 11 a.m. To 12:30 p.m., Professor Dale Green will lead a tour of “The Hill,” an area in Easton recently discovered to be the oldest African American community in the nation, populated by free blacks and some whites, all living in relative harmony. Professor Green, who is chairman of the Historic Preservation Program at Morgan State University in Baltimore, has played an active role in archaeological digs in “The Hill” neighborhood. At 3 p.m., he will present an update on “The Hill” and its latest archaeological findings at the Talbot County Free Library.
At the Dover Street location from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Kentavius Jones (“KJ”) and his band will perform live music. KJ, an Easton native and Washington College 2004 graduate, currently lives in Los Angeles but often is in his home territory. His icons are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, and his own musician father. His brand of soulful rock moves people to his beat and onto their feet.
Other musical performers will include the Bay Country Chorus (the Easton chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society); Gene Edwards, a master of the digital keyboard and a vocalist of a full array of favorite hits; and the SPAA Singers (Society for the Preservation of African American Singers), performing soulful sounds of gospel music from the past, while circulating throughout the site area.
At 1 p.m., keynote speaker, Professor David Blight will talk about material from his forthcoming book on Frederick Douglass’s life at the Talbot County Free Library. Blight, a respected Yale University historian, was at the unveiling of the Frederick Douglass statue on 2011. He is Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.
Hunting for answers during the scavenger hunt about intriguing places, times, and people can be accomplished by using your smart phone or the resources at the library. No previous knowledge is required; you just need a sharp mind and comfortable shoes. Participants can pick up the clues for the scavenger hunt at the Dover Street Scavenger Hunt booth.
Sanfoka Dance Theater will take center stage at 3:00 pm presenting world-class authentic African art in the form of dance, music, and folkways. Sanfoka reaches back into the rich legacy of African culture and history to move forward in greater awareness and sensitivity to the world community. They have performed for antional and international locations entertaining, enriching, and connecting with people around the world.
A free screening of “Twelve Years a Slave” directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor will be held 6:30 p.m. at the Easton Premier Cinemas. The film, based on an incredible true story about one man’s fight for survival and freedom, earned three Academy Awards – Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o and the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley.
On Friday, September 26, the Frederick Douglass Honor Society will host a fundraising event at the Avalon Theatre, with live music by the XPD’s. Their Motown, R&B, and funk tunes put people into the mood to clap and dance. Tickets are available on line by visiting avalontheatre.com. Cost is $35 per person.
Except for the fundraiser, all Frederick Douglass Day events and the screening of “Twelve Years a Slave” are free and open to the public. Follow the upcoming event activities and postings on the Frederick Douglass Day Facebook page.
Support for Frederick Douglass Day has come from the Artistic Insight Fund of the Mid Shore Community Foundation, APG Media of Chesapeake, Kathleen Linehan and Ed Gabriel, Out of the Fire, Mr. and Mrs. Paul B. Prager, Tim and Lisa Wyman, and other public and private partners.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-375-7879 or 410-463-5789.