The NAACP’s Lebanon County Branch 26AA is set to host its fourth annual community oration, featuring the renowned 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass’s pivotal speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

The event will commence at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 2, in front of the Miller Chapel on the academic quad of Lebanon Valley College in Annville.

The free event welcomes public participation, with informal networking opportunities available from 1 p.m. onward.

Michael Schroeder, secretary of the Lebanon County Branch, underlined the importance of the event, saying, “This community oration offers an opportunity for our community to come together and reflect on our shared history, and to steel our resolve moving forward to build not just a non-racist future for our children and grandchildren, but an anti-racist future.”

Born a slave around 1818, Douglass liberated himself at the age of 20 and became the 19th century’s most prominent African-American public figure. His 1852 speech in Rochester, NY, underscored the stark contrast between the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the brutal reality of slavery for African Americans.

Past orations have attracted over 40 community orators and more than 100 attendees. Last year’s event can be viewed on YouTube.

Attendees are encouraged to bring portable lawn chairs, with chairs also provided. Security will be coordinated by Lebanon Valley College Campus Safety and Annville Police.

The NAACP, the nation’s preeminent civil rights organization, was established in 1909. The Lebanon County Branch was chartered in February 2021 following its formation in the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. More information can be found on the Branch’s website.

Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Do you want to see more from LebTown?

Support local news. Cancel anytime.

Already a member? Login here

Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.


LebTown membership required to comment.

Already a member? Login here

Leave a comment

Your email address will be kept private.