Chapin Library hosts July 4 reading of the Declaration of Independence, speeches by Frederick Douglass and John Quinney.

The Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College will host the annual July 4 reading of the Declaration of Independence and speeches by Frederick Douglass and John Quinney at 1:30 p.m. The event, held in the atrium of Sawyer Library, is free and open to the public.

Readers at this year’s event include actor, writer and comedian Rachel Bloom; playwright and dramaturg Kamilah Bush; and president of the Stockbridge Munsee Community Shannon Holsey.

This year’s program includes:

  • The Declaration of Independence and Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, read by Rachel Bloom
  • Excerpts from Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” read Kamilah Bush
  • Excerpts from John Quinney’s Fourth of July, 1854, Address at Reidsville, New York, read by Shannon Holsey

The Dunlap Broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence, a draft of the U.S. Constitution and other documents from the Chapin Library’s collections will be on display in the Chapin Gallery after the reading.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the Chapin Library copy of Frederick Douglass’ July 4 oration on display as part of the exhibition Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation, on view through July 14 at the Williams College Museum of Art. 


Published July 3, 2024