PERU – Peru State College opened its diversity month activities Thursday with a Frederick Douglass bicentennial commemoration program.
Peru State students Jamartae Brown, Marissa Gomez, Bailey Dennis, Jared Mueller, Hannah Earnhardt and Samantha Jackson gave dramatic readings of Douglass’s writings.
John Harris of Lincoln portrayed Douglass at the college’s Benford Recital Hall.
Harris: “$711 and 66 cents, that’s what they raised to buy my freedom. Freedom to proclaim liberty and free to do whatever I could do to help my people become free, as well.”
Making an appeal to a modern slogan, Harris said black lives mattered under the slave system as property and challenged his audience to make black lives matter still today under freedom.
Selected readings included “self-made men,” “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” and the “Blessings of Liberty and Education.”