Welcome to Douglass Day!

February 14, 2020
12 PM – 3 PM (EST)
Registration now open!

Douglass Day 2020

On Valentine’s Day 2020, we invite you to a birthday party for Frederick Douglass. Although Douglass was born into bondage, and never knew his birthdate, he chose to celebrate every year on February 14th. We celebrate this day as a moment for preserving Black history together.

This year, we will feature the papers of Anna Julia Cooper. (That’s Cooper above with her statue of Douglass.) Join us online or organize an event in your area. We’ll have a transcribe-a-thon, plus reading groups, lesson plans, and live video broadcast — all on February 14th! 

“When and where I enter… the whole race enters with me.”

—Anna Julia Cooper

On February 14

  • Transcribe-a-thon featuring Cooper’s papers
  • Readings & discussions of Cooper’s writing
  • A live video broadcast from Washington, D.C.
  • Lots of social media, birthday cake, and singing!

How can I get involved?

1. Join us online!

Douglass Day will feature an online transcribe-a-thon on Zooniverse. We’ll have a live video broadcast on YouTube, and many of our teams will be active on social media using #DouglassDay.

2. Organize an event with your school or group!

We can help you host a local event on Douglass Day. We have guides & resources for holding a transcribe-a-thon or a reading group. Plus, we’ll be introducing lesson plans for K-12 teachers. Check it all out in our organizer’s kit!

3. Find a local event to attend.

Many local events are open to the public. In January, we will post a list of Douglass Day events around the country & across the world. Watch this space!


What is Douglass Day?
After Frederick Douglass passed away in 1895, African American communities gathered to celebrate his birthday every year on February 14th. These memorials offered a space for reflection on the past and the questions of today. Douglass Day was one of the origins of Black History Month.
In 2017, the Colored Conventions Project revived these celebrations as an annual day for preserving Black history. This year, we will hold a transcribe-a-thon and read-a-thon focused on the papers of Anna Julia Cooper. All are invited!
Who was Anna Julia Cooper?
Anna Julia Cooper (1858 – 1964) was a visionary Black feminist leader, educator, intellectual, and activist. Born into slavery in 1858, she earned a PhD from University of Paris-Sorbonne. She wrote a foundational text of Black feminist thought, A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South. Cooper taught us that Black women should be at the center of the battle for civil rights.
What is a transcribe-a-thon?
During these events, we can help enhance digitized archives. We’ll have food, music, and a fun time! Our main activity will be transcribing the words in all sorts of documents (from letters and diaries to certificates and postcards). Don’t feel comfortable reading old handwriting? Try working in pairs. There’s also lots of typewritten documents that are easier to read. And we have lots of tutorials, guides, and more in the Organizer’s Kit. Let’s dive in!
What is a read-a-thon?
We will provide a few short readings of works by Anna Julia Cooper. They will be short enough to read during the event. Then, we have a set of discussion questions in our guide to hosting reading groups. We are also preparing a Teacher’s Guide for Douglass Day with lesson plans & resources (coming soon). Info about both formats will be posted soon in our Organizer’s Kit.
Where can I order official Douglass Day swag?
In early January, we will post links to websites where you can order stickers, postcards, and more. Watch this space or follow us on social media!

Douglass Day 2020 is presented by

The Colored Conventions Project, the Anna Julia Cooper Digital Project, The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, the Princeton University Center for Digital Humanities, and the Pennsylvania State University Libraries and the College of Liberal Arts.

The transcribe-a-thon is made possible by training and generosity of the Zooniverse non-profit organization. We extend special thanks for support to the American Studies Association for a Community Partnership Grant.

Follow us on social media

Twitter: DouglassDayorg + @CCP_org