On February 14, the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, the Women Writers Project, and the Digital Scholarship Group teamed up to celebrate Frederick Douglass’ birthday with a read- and transcribe-a-thon. The read- and transcribe-a-thon was part of a national celebration for Douglass’ birthday, organized by the Colored Conventions Project in association with the African American Museum of Philadelphia. This is the third year Northeastern has participated in the event.

Faculty, staff, and students from various disciplines across Northeastern and Greater Boston gathered in the Digital Scholarship Commons to contribute to crowdsourced projects focused on African American History and selected by the event organizers.  Participants transcribed data from projects like the African American Civil War Soldiers, to help build a database of the 200,000 African Americans who fought for the Union army in the American Civil War, or the Anti-Slavery Manuscripts project, to help make the Boston Public Library’s extensive collection of abolitionist letters and manuscripts more readable by both humans and computers. Transcribers worked together to understand and read handwriting from the mid-nineteenth century.

This year Northeastern joined 23 organizations from around the world for Douglass Day.  The official Colored Conventions Project program was live-streamed to listen to the reading of Douglass’ work and remember his legacy. CCP organizers also pointed attendees to writing by or about Douglass, including the piece read at Northeastern, “Frederick Douglass,” a poem by Robert Hayden, which remembers Douglass during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate, and we hope to see you at next year’s celebration!