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History Unlocked "Frederick Douglass Visited Poughkeepsie" in 1858

Did you know the great Orator and Abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave a speech on August 2, 1858, in Poughkeepsie, New York?

Photo Caption: Actor Paul Oakley Stovall reading the words of Frederick Douglass to the Poughkeepsie community, photo credit Nile Clarke

This summer the Poughkeepsie Community gathered together on August 1st at College Hill Park to recognize and celebrate an important date in local history. That date was August 2, 1858, when abolitionist, author and orator Frederick Douglass came to town and spoke to the people about the importance of Emancipation Day in Great Britain and the political climate in the United States.

“The truth can never fail” - Frederick Douglass

The celebration was put together by a non-profit organization called "Celebrating The African Spirit" or C.A.S., a Poughkeepsie-based community group. The group's co-founder Carmen Marchaline McGill told The Goodie Drop that Douglass spoke to almost 4,000 people on College Hill in 1858 and it was important to share that history with the community.

Photo Caption: Carmen Marchaline McGill co-founder of C.A.S. at College Hill Park, photo credit Nile Clarke

Actor Paul Oakley Stovall (known for his work in Hamilton the Broadway Musical) read excerpts from Douglass's speech. The event also included performances by Souls United of Hudson Valley an interfaith gospel choir and the Center for Creative Education’s Percussion Orchestra of Kingston. There was also an art exhibit showcasing young local artists. C.A.S also thoughtfully coordinated with Beulah Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie to help provide transportation up to College Hill.

Photo Caption: Performers from the Center for Creative Education’s Percussion Orchestra of Kingston, photo credit Nile Clarke

Photo Caption: Akayla Worme, a C.A.S. Youth Summer Program member presented her "Hidden Histories" artwork during the event, photo credit Nile Clarke

Poughkeepsie leadership presented a proclamation that day to officially make August 2, 2021, a 'Frederick Douglass Day' from then on. Learn more about C.A.S. and their mission to celebrate the many contributions of Africans in Poughkeepsie on their website:

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