Online recording of ‘Frederick Douglass Project’ available to view

February 14 is the recognized birthday of Frederick Douglass, and the Center for the Performing Arts invites all to celebrate the American abolitionist and progressive Black thinker.

Theater of War Productions is hosting a recording of The Frederick Douglass Project, which originally broadcast live on February 8. The recording features a reading by Emmy Award-winning actor Keith David of a speech given by Douglass at the controversial National Convention of Colored Men in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 24, 1883. A post-reading panel comprised of Penn State students and Black leaders explores the text and shares personal insights.

Watch the recording.

Gabrielle Foreman, founding co-director of the Center for Digital Black Research and founding faculty director of the Colored Conventions Project, says programming collaborations such as this are beneficial to people throughout the Commonwealth.

“We are particularly delighted that our inaugural partnership features Frederick Douglass’ speech given at the 1883 National Colored Convention, because this address is as powerful as his famous ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?’ Foreman says. “We at were the first to have it recorded, commissioning actor Hassan El-Amin to do the honors and elevate it to its rightful historical place. It is a thrill to see Theater of War center Douglass’ powerful words in their important and community-centered programming.”

Read a Center for the Performing Arts feature about the event and how collaborations with the Penn State Commonwealth campuses are the future of arts programming.

Douglass Day will celebrate the birthday of Frederick Douglass on Tuesday, February 14, with a global Black history transcribe-a-thon. This year’s event will focus on transcribing the papers of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, an anti-slavery pioneer of publishing in the United States and Canada.


Richard Robert Brown Program Endowment provides support.

The Center for the Performing Arts thanks these Penn State partners for their support: College of Arts and Architecture; College of Health and Human Development; College of the Liberal Arts; Office of the Vice Provost for Commonwealth Campuses; Penn State Wilkes-Barre; Smeal College of Business; and University Libraries.

We also acknowledge the Colored Conventions Project and Douglass Day at the Center for Black Digital Research at Penn State.