The Emancipation Marathon

There is no National Holiday that acknowledges the enslaved builders of America’s prosperity. The purpose of The Emancipation Marathon is to honor and commemorate the African prisoners of American Chattel Slavery in a dignified and community-focused manner.

Storytellers read both historic and contemporary pieces about slavery in America—the laws, its definition, the human condition as it existed under that institution, and the legacy it left behind.

A downtown Phoenix literary tradition for over 20 years, the Emancipation Marathon commemorates the victims of that “peculiar institution,” American Chattel Slavery, with dignity and gravity. The literary selections which comprise The Emancipation Marathon are made within the contexts of the following, but are not necessarily contiguous:

Slavery – The Law

Slavery – The Definition

Slavery – The Human Condition

Slavery – The Legacy


Expose readers and listeners to historical information about American Chattel Slavery, which has been and continues to be obscured or withheld.

Distribute literary information which illuminates the methods that perpetuated American Chattel Slavery and the impacts of those methodologies on present day.

"The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!"  

 What, to the Slave, Is the Fourth of July?   

Delivered by Frederick Douglass                                                                                               July 5, 1852, in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York 

Addressed to the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society

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