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.
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
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.
“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
FEBRUARY 10 at 2pm
Dr. 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.
Read some of Douglass’ speeches in our database African-American History Online (Scotch Plains Library card required to log in.)
FEBRUARY 15 at 7pm
On 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.
“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
“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)
“…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 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.”
‘To use our research databases, login with a Scotch Plains Library card number.
- African-American History Online – Find published articles, primary sources (including speeches), images, videos and more.
- Bloom’s Literature -find reference sources, literary criticism, the full-text of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and more.