Program Series: Taking One’s Freedom

February Program Series on Freedom

Explore with Us:

Exhibit / Collage Making / Lecture / Book Discussion / Resources

In February, we will be taking a closer look at the notion of freedom, primarily through the lens of Frederick Douglass’ journey to his own freedom. Take some time this month to explore the meaning of freedom through our programs. Visit our exhibit, participate in an intergenerational art program and a special lecture, and contribute to a book discussion. You’ll be sure to come away with some new ideas and insights about freedom!  Our Library Resources can help you continue your exploration of the life and work of Frederick Douglass.

All events are listed below, with links to register where needed.

EXHIBIT

From Slavery to Freedom: The Journey to New York City

FEBRUARY 10 through FEBRUARY 28

 

The Library will host Frederick Douglass From Slavery to Freedom: The Journey to New York City, a traveling exhibition, from Saturday, February 10 through Wednesday, February 28. The exhibit is provided by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Drawing upon Douglass’ own words from his autobiography and materials from the Gilder Lehrman Collection, the exhibition will look at Douglass’ life under slavery and his daring journey to freedom. It explores the question, “What aspects of his youth shaped his determination to be free?” Visitors may gain a deeper understanding of Douglass’ quest for freedom and the difficult choices he made. These choices can resonate for Americans today who are facing great challenges in achieving their goals and dreams.

 

INTERGENERATIONAL ART PROJECT

Make a Freedom Collage

FEBRUARY 10 from 9:30am to 11:30am

 

Creating a collage can be a powerful means of self-expression for young and old.  We welcome artist, photographer, teacher and mentor Mansa Mussa , who will lead an intergenerational program creating Freedom Collages from 9:30-11:30am. Completed collages will be displayed in our Gallery space throughout the month.

Please register your group if you plan to attend.

Artist Mansa Mussa
Photo from “An Artist for All Seasons: Mansa Mussa” by Carol Selman, Patch Poster | Nov 6, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Collage is use to explore ideas, [and] advocate concepts…But just as often it is the consummate means of personal visual expression and distinct visual vocabulary…”

-Gerald Brommer in Collage Techniques, a Guide for Artists and Illustrators

LECTURE

Frederick Douglass: Reader, Preacher, Orator

FEBRUARY 10 at 2pm

 

Professor Douglas Jones, Rutgers UniversityDr. Douglas Jones of Rutgers University will present Frederick Douglass: Reader, Preacher, Orator, a lecture about Douglass’ public speaking career, which ranged from local preacher to world-renown orator.  Professor Jones will discuss the religious and secular contexts that gave shape to Douglass’ rhetorical style and helped make his speaking career so memorable. Light refreshments will be served following the lecture.

Please register if you plan to attend.

Read some of Douglass’ speeches in our database African-American History Online (Scotch Plains Library card required to log in.)

Frederick Douglass Speaking
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. “Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave, on an English platform, denouncing slaveholders and their religious abettors.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1852.

 

 

BOOK DISCUSSION

Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave

FEBRUARY 15 at 7pm

 

Book cover: Never CaughtOn Thursday, February 15 at 7:00pm, Dr. Linda Caldwell Epps returns to the Library to discuss the book Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. A limited number of copies of the book will be available to borrow beginning February 1.  Stop by or call the Reference Desk at 908-322-5007 x 204 to reserve a copy.  Registration is required as well.

Further reading:

In Search of the Slave Who Defied George Washington.”  New York Times article about Ona Judge and Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s determined quest to bring her story to light.

 

“There’s a myth of the North as free, but her story shows how complicated that was…”


 

Additional Resources at the Scotch Plains Public Library

Books (Print)

 

In the Words of Frederick Douglass: Quotations from Liberty’s Champion

 

“The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.”

 

“There is no negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their own constitution.”

 

“Frederick Douglass has left one of the most extensive bodies of significant and quotable public statements of any figure in American history. In the Words of Frederick Douglass is a rich trove of…nearly seven hundred quotations by Douglass that demonstrate the breadth and strength of his intellect as well as the eloquence with which he expressed his political and ethical principles.’  (From the publisher)

 

Book Cover: Giants : the parallel lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham LincolnGiants : The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

 

“…long before they ever met, they read, virtually memorized the same six books or authors, and that was central to their self-making.” -NPR interview with author John Stauffer, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Stauffer manages the nifty trick of reinterpreting the familiar story of Lincoln, the Civil War and slavery by introducing Douglass as an important character in this narrative. Douglass was disappointed with Lincoln at first, but grew to become friendly with the president. This fascinating book will be of interest to popular audiences and academics alike.” -Star Ledger 

Collage Techniques BookCollage techniques : A Guide for Artists and Illustrators

 

“Collage artists…recognize beauty in the simple scraps and refuse around them and use them to heighten or intensify a a point of view or experience for the audience’s pleasure or edification.”

 

 

 

 


Research Databases

 

‘To use our research databases, login with a Scotch Plains Library card number.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bloom’s Literature -find reference sources, literary criticism, the full-text of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and more.

Bloom's Literature Database