Black History Month is held every February with the purpose of highlighting and celebrating the achievements of black Americans and their contributions to American history. Too often the historical writings of black Americans languish in archives, undiscoverable to scholars because they have not been transcribed. The Douglass Day organization embraces the educational mission of Black History Month by hosting a global virtual transcribathon, held annually on abolitionist Frederick Douglass’s birthday. A transcription is an event during which volunteers view either actual manuscripts or digitizations and transcribe what they read into software so that these texts can be made searchable, thus opening those texts up for future scholarship.
Frederick Douglass was born a slave and never knew the date of his actual birthday. He chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14th because he remembered his mother calling him “her little valentine.”
Each year Douglassday.org selects the papers of a prominent black American to be transcribed. This year’s transcribathon will focus on the papers of Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893), who was an activist, journalist and newspaper publisher, and one of the first black women to attend law school.
Please join LTS and the Lehigh English Department for our first Douglass Day Transcribathon on Tuesday, February 14 from 3 pm to 5 pm in Linderman Library room 302. Cake and punch will be served. Come join us in wishing Frederick Douglass a happy birthday!