Go directly to the 2024 schedule.
Described by its national organizers as a day of “collective action for Black history,” every year Douglass Day gives participants the opportunity to create communal spaces for remembering and preserving Black history with Black communities in ways that promote critical reflection and joy.
Each year, the Douglass Day organizers invite people everywhere to help transcribe digitized collections important to Black history. Previous “transcribe-a-thons” have focused on records from the Colored Conventions project and papers of Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, and Mary Ann Shadd Cary.
This year’s transcribe-a-thon will feature correspondence of Frederick Douglass himself in the archives of the Library of Congress.
Really, though, it’s not! We’ll use the Library of Congress’ By the People platform to do our transcribing, and the LOC has provided clear, detailed instructions for how to do the work. You have the option to create a By the People account to track your transcriptions and help review other people’s transcriptions, but creating an account is optional. You don’t need an account to pitch in and help transcribe.
Academic faculty, professional faculty, and students will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Last Douglass Day (February 14, 2023), about 40-50 students, faculty (academic and professional), and administrators gathered to celebrate Black history and activism along with some 7,000 participants from across the U.S., Europe, and Africa. Together, we helped transcribe the papers of activist, abolitionist, women’s rights advocate, writer, teacher, and lawyer Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893), the first Black woman in North America to edit a weekly newspaper. During intermissions, the Douglass Day playlist on Spotify served as background to our transcription work.
Learn more about our 2023 efforts by browsing through the resources on these archived pages.
Geneseo campus community members transcribing papers of Mary Ann Shadd Cary on Douglass Day 2023