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University of Delaware

02/09/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/09/2018 17:22

Feb. 14: Frederick Douglass Day

Members of the University of Delaware community will mark Frederick Douglass Day on Wednesday, Feb. 14, with UD serving as a hub for an international event.

Volunteer transcribers will work to digitally preserve documents from the Freedmen's Bureau, the agency that Congress established after the Civil War to help formerly enslaved people and others whose lives were dependent on the economic system of slavery transition to freedom.

This event is in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which houses these historically significant documents, and the Smithsonian Transcription Center.

In addition to the important task of transcribing records, the event at UD will be a festive celebration of the famed activist, author and orator's 200th birthday complete with music, a performance of one of Douglass' 1876 speeches, a dance performance by UD's Women of Consequence and-of course-cake.

UD's event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from noon to 3 p.m. in room 114 of Morris Library.

The University is one of three central hubs for this year's international Douglass Day transcribe-a-thon, which will take place at more than 60 locations across North America and Europe. Plans call for live-streaming the event from UD; Princeton University, where it will be led by UD alumnus Jim Casey; and Howard University, where a team led by the Smithsonian Institution will take part.

The Delaware event is led by the Colored Conventions Project (CCP), a nationally recognized digital history project founded and hosted at UD.

Through a collaborative process, the initiative resurrects buried digital history by finding, digitizing, archiving and making publicly available the minutes and other records from the numerous Colored Conventions that met across the United States and Canada in the 19th century. African American men and women, including such prominent leaders as Douglass, gathered at these conventions to strategize about ways to achieve political, social and legal justice.

The CCP faculty director is P. Gabrielle Foreman, who is Ned B. Allen Professor of English and professor of Africana studies and history.

Participants in the Frederick Douglass Day event will get a brief tutorial on the transcription process, with volunteers available to assist them.

To register and for more information about the UD celebration, visit the event page. Information is also available at the Smithsonian Transcription Center.