Douglass Day Transcribe-a-Thon 2024

Event Start Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - 11:00 am

Event End Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - 3:00 pm

Location: Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture (Department of Art History and Archaeology)

UMD Students—in celebration of the chosen birthday of Frederick Douglass, please join us for a day of fun, food, and connection!


Activities will take place in hour slots from 11am-3pm. You can sign up for one or as many slots as you like. Throughout the day, you can expect:

  1. Learn about Black history and culture at UMD
  2. Live stream of the Penn State event
  3. Ongoing transcribe-a-thon with historic documents by Frederick Douglass
    • Signups include hourly slots
  4. Usage of the By The People crowdsourcing platform, so please bring a laptop
  5. Vegetarian lunch from Moby’s (1-2pm)
  6. “Bring your own” birthday cake to share (2-3pm)

Douglass Day is an international hybrid event hosted and streamed by Penn State University each year on February 14th, Douglass’ chosen birthday, to celebrate Black history through a transcribe-a-thon and birthday cake bake-off. CAFe is partnering with the Driskell Center, STAMP, BCaT Lab, and scholars in the Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at UMD to host a Douglass Day transcribe-a-thon event with food and fun on February 14th. Show off your baking skills by bringing a birthday cake to share. Registration and a laptop are required for this event.

On Douglass Day, participants will learn how to transcribe handwritten items in the general correspondence of Frederick Douglass. These papers are held at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and have been made digitally available for transcription through the By the People virtual volunteering project. Comprised of 8,731 pages, this collection provides insight into Douglass’ social and political life through his exchanges with family, friends, activists, politicians, and others between 1841 and 1912. Transcribing these materials ensures resources on specific people and events are made more robust, and thus more discoverable and accessible; it also brings those who are interested in history together to learn more about a common theme. These letters will provide rich insight into the life and work of Frederick Douglass that are not yet widely accessible.

Additional Information:

Please contact at least one week prior to the event to request disability accommodations. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.

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